Star Trek: Discovery

"Will You Take My Hand?"

2 stars

Air date: 2/11/2018
Teleplay by Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts
Story by Akiva Goldsman & Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts
Directed by Akiva Goldsman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Ah, to be a fly on the wall in the writers' room of Star Trek: Discovery. What really happened there? How much of this show grew from Bryan Fuller's original ideas, and how much of it was scrapped or retooled? Did the writers change the fundamental course of the season midway through, and were they justified in doing so? Did they have to fix things on the fly and figure out ways to fit a patchwork narrative together into something supposedly coherent? Or was this the plan all along? I'm somehow guessing not the latter, at least for some of it.

I ask these questions after having watched "Will You Take My Hand?" take a season-long arc about Starfleet's war with the Klingons and solve it in five minutes with a plot device that brings new definitions to the word "contrived." I had hoped this finale would be more resolution than cliffhanger. It was. That's a blessing, albeit a very mixed one.

On the one hand, we've got a season-long arc about the Klingon war that was clearly not working for numerous reasons, and now the season mercifully wraps that up so we can deal with something else next year. Great. On the other hand, the way they resolve this is so simplistic and asinine it really makes you wonder what the writers were thinking, and how we got to this point in a series that otherwise went to pains to plan ahead enough to drop hints about MU Lorca and Voq/Tyler from their very first episodes. For resolving the war storyline, this was the best they could do? Did this part of the story just get away from the writing staff and so they decided to be done with it so they could start over next year?

To step back for a moment and frame it another way: What was this season of Discovery about?

This finale tries really, really hard to answer that question with an abundance of earnest speechifying. Discovery season one is about one woman's journey to realize what The Starfleet Way means to her and in turn she helps teach that lesson back to the people who have apparently forgotten it themselves in the course of this war. In short, this episode is an attempt to return Discovery's take on Trek back to regular order after a season of playing fast and loose. They should've titled this episode "We Are Starfleet"; that way the subtlety of the title would've matched the subtlety of the message (which is to say, brick-to-face).

The problem is that the narrative is full of gaps and the season was reverse engineered to arrive at a conclusion but without the necessary connective scenes needed to make us feel invested, and so you can see the gears grinding away. It's not elegant storytelling. It's almost like they had to keep escalating this war to keep the plot moving but had no idea how to get out of it (just that we would get out of it), so they pushed the Eject button at the last possible moment.

Really, the biggest issue is this is a case where the writers painted themselves into a corner by elevating the stakes too high and too soon. Ridiculously, needlessly high. You can tell a story about Michael Burnham's fateful mutiny and the journey to her redemption, but framing it against the very survival of the Federation is an ill-advised mismatch of scale. It looks silly to have the entire war center around Burnham and the Discovery's role in it, because it takes something impossibly large and strains to make us believe that Our Heroes, and mostly the all-important spore drive, determine every significant thing that happens. After "Battle at the Binary Stars," there's barely another ship in Starfleet that seems to matter to anything.

Meanwhile, pretending the Federation might collapse is just false suspense. We never thought it would happen — and indeed, it's not possible in a series that alleges it's taking place just 10 years before TOS — so the whole thing becomes a puzzle to solve to see how they are going to resolve a continuity mess of their own making in a way that fits in with the established timeline. This led to a lot of theorizing that maybe this whole show was taking place in a parallel universe. Well, it turns out it's not even that clever. The war is ended and swept under the rug because the writers are apparently just done with it. (Again, this is a good move on balance because it just wasn't working and they need to reset the show.) The damage done to the Federation in the past year-plus appears now to all be a piece of canon that was previously invisible and now fits in only because the writers have hand-waved it away as never to be spoken of later. That's disappointing — and not credible given the supposed existential threat to the Federation — but at the end of the day, it's perhaps for the best.

So to get there, the plot has to take shortcuts that are really hard to swallow. The Starfleet brass — represented here solely by Admiral Cornwell — have decided in their desperation that Emperor Georgiou's mission is to destroy Kronos with a WMD that can conveniently be dropped into a hole in a cavern that will set off a chain reaction of volcanic explosions. It's yet another over-the-top stake among all the other artificially inflated stakes we've had this year. Now Starfleet is planning genocide contrary to their own moral code, and barely a minute of screen time is devoted to it (as seen through Cornwell's desperate hemming and hawing). Reminiscent of Admiral Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness (albeit less cartoonishly evil), Starfleet is represented by one leader who drives everything for the societies of trillions, and all the meaty stuff where she might talk to other leaders about these decisions of galactic import happens off-screen. The audience's scope is so microscopic on such a small group of people that it just doesn't feel real or earned. It's a plot device lacking weight and dimension. These sorts of high-stake issues can certainly be dealt with on Trek; see the latter seasons of DS9, where it was done far better, with ironclad plotting compared to this (even if we complained about the holes at the time). But the writers here failed to put in the time and effort to develop the scenario to make us believe it, and instead simply told us it was so.

In retrospect, this season plays like a series of bright-idea miscalculations that seemed to promise more beforehand, and less after the fact. Lorca's moral grayness is rendered pointless in retrospect when we learn he's actually an impostor from the MU. The spore drive seems to be able to jump to any and all alternate universes, but we just end up using it to go to the MU and back rather than considering the grander possibilities hinted at in "Into the Forest I Go." Tyler turns out to be Voq in league with L'Rell in a plan that, from their own point of view, doesn't make any goddamn sense.

And then here, the whole war comes down to Burnham convincing MU Georgiou not to go through with the plan, which hinges on a gambit that Georgiou won't kill Michael, because their relationship transcends parallel universes. Okay, fine; I can accept that Georgiou has no skin in the game here and just wants her freedom. But then we give the bomb to L'Rell in an equally bizarre gambit L'Rell uses to unite the Klingon houses and call off the war. It's really convenient that this scenario works. I can think of a bunch of reasons why it shouldn't. But the luck of the draw and the needs of the plot make this unlikely scenario just happen, and the Klingons decide to stop attacking and recall their ships, end of story. It's a U-turn that isn't earned and feels completely rushed and manufactured. An entire season of (mostly background) warfare is solved with one conversation.

If it sounds like I'm retroactively blaming the faults of the season, which I found fairly acceptable as it was airing, on the events in this finale — well, yeah. The destination reveals much less than was promised, and all the weekly action and cliffhangers up to that point, while entertaining and well-executed, dissolve away into a disappointingly substance-free experience. This season was often fun to watch — let me be very clear on that — but it doesn't build lasting significance and the resolution is far too easy. In many regards it is the Star Trek: Vaporware I've been fearing, albeit an enjoyable one.

It's really a shame. Burnham's arc is actually not bad at all. She made a reckless decision to mutiny in the pilot that she thought would save the Federation (although I was never sold on the logic of that move), was humbled and stripped of rank, got a second chance, and found in her dealings with Lorca that his amoral actions touting the ends justifying the means were unacceptable. Given the POV of this season, it makes a certain amount of thematic sense to bookend the whole thing with her big speech at the end about what she learned and how that applies to Starfleet's moral code, as overly earnest as it plays. I just wish we'd spent more time actually seeing Starfleet and their compromised ideals instead of distilling the essence of it into one or two rushed scenes of dialogue.

Do I think Discovery is an unsalvageable failure? Not at all. With the exception of TOS, Trek series have a long history of taking a season (or two or three) to find their footing, and the behind-the-scenes turmoil of Discovery's launch implies a series that was more troubled in the early going than most. Yeah, they blew the finale — which given the highly serialized nature of the show means they kind of blew away a significant portion of the season with it — but they have great-looking production design and visuals (which count for something in a modern sci-fi show), the cast is solid (if somewhat underutilized in spots), and they've got the pieces here to make a good modern Trek for a modern audience. The writers just need to step up their game and tighten up the storytelling and try to explore ideas rather than just burning through miles of plot. The more recent episodes allowed us to see more of the recurring bridge characters and more examples of the characters working together as a crew. There's actually a good thread running through the season in that this was a ship of disparate people with different viewpoints and priorities and they slowly came together to become a functioning team.

This episode is also one of few this season that gets off the ship and visits a Strange New World through the reconnaissance mission in a seedy Orion-populated city on Kronos, which sets the stage for more of these types of planet-bound adventures next season. (Granted, I was confused why humans were allowed to roam so freely considering the status of the war, but never mind.) These scenes open up the canvas to do some world-building that this series could use more of. There's even a nod to past series with the amusing easter-egg casting of Clint Howard, whose walk-on roles in various Trek series over the years go all the way back to TOS's "The Corbomite Maneuver."

If the writers can figure out the balance between serialization and episodic world-building, and not put all their eggs in so few baskets (the spore drive, the war, cliffhanger shocks, Burnham's arc providing the center of all plot points), they can build a better show here. This season was rarely boring, even if the plot kind of fell apart at the end.

Some parting thoughts on this episode and season:

  • In her speech to and of Starfleet, Burnham says, "We will not take shortcuts." My meta-commentary irony detector instantly shot to 11.
  • The spore drive continues to exist. The writers must intend to keep using it throughout this series, but at some point one presumes this piece of technology will have to go away. It's too powerful and solves too many problems too easily.
  • Having Tyler stay on Kronos with L'Rell to serve as her adviser has a certain melancholy appropriateness to it. He is of neither and both worlds, so maybe he can use that to play a contributing role. (Although I suspect he'd be more accepted in the Federation than among Klingons.)
  • Emperor Georgiou turns out to be a nasty person, which shouldn't be a surprise but shows Burnham's emotional snap-decision to bring her from the MU backfiring, which goes right along with the idea of Georgiou as her Achilles heel. Fittingly, Burnham has to confront this truth in the big moment to end the war. Thematically, this would be solid if the plot weren't such a clunky gearbox.
  • Tilly works well as the resident comic-relief character without looking ridiculous. This is always a fine line, and I think the writers and Mary Wiseman have found a way to walk it.
  • Sarek apparently signed off on the destruction of Kronos (off-screen, of course). This strikes me as wrong on so many levels.
  • The loss of so many starring characters (Lorca, Tyler, Georgiou) indicates we will likely get some new characters next year, including a new captain (though Saru still has my vote). That could be interesting and help refresh the series.
  • The final-scene reveal of the Discovery answering a distress call put out by the Enterprise under Captain Pike didn't exactly make me stand up and cheer. It was fine, but there's peril in going down this route (as we've already seen with messing with the TOS-era continuity), and I'd rather this series find its own way than double down on the TOS tie-ins. That being said, there are some opportunities here if the writers are smart about it. (Note to writers: Please be smart about it.)
  • During the Discovery and Orville hiatuses, I may take a crack at another limited reviewing project. No promises yet, and I need to figure out how it will work and what the timeline will be, but stay tuned.
  • It's been great reading your commentary this season in the comments. You are a thoughtful bunch, and I appreciate your contributions to the discussion.

Previous episode: The War Without, The War Within

◄ Season Index

574 comments on this review

Jack2211
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, I don't really understand what happened there. The war's over because L'Rell is holding them all hostage, essentially? Does the bomb go off if they assassinate her? And the Federation is still susceptible to a fatal Klingon attack at pretty much any time?

Cool to see the Enterprise, I guess -- but none of the "Starfleet values, Hooray!" stuff felt earned.


Rahul
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
As a season finale, we get a nice, albeit very rushed and convenient conclusion with Burnham getting a pardon -- but the structure of this episode bugs me, not to mention Burnham's monologue and trying too hard to make her the big hero. So I found that trite, annoying, and highly convenient. But this is the Burnham character who we know that takes matters into her own hands, does what she wants, challenges superior officers, but this time comes out on top.

It's fine to be unsettled with Mirror Georgiou in command, but Burnham openly challenges her (no surprise, given her past) but MG was put in charge by Cornwell -- so shouldn't she be obeyed? Cornwell and the whole Star Fleet command are fine with putting MG in charge at the expense of Star Fleet principles, but when Burnham challenges Cornwell and gets the backing of the Discovery crew, Cornwell flip flops? Cornwell knew what Mirror Georgiou's plan was no?
And then from there, everything falls into place super quickly with L'Rell taking control of the Klingon empire, calling off the war etc. etc. And then we get the medals handed out with Burnham giving some kind of lecture to Star Fleet command about being righteous and following principles. This episode had its weird moments for sure.

Thought it was strange to see plenty of non-Klingons on Qo'noS -- aren't Klingons xenophobic, and given it's wartime, the landing party was able to just walk around and do whatever under little threat. So Burnham feels sympathy for the inhabitants or something. If the point is that Burnham is able to find compassion (or whatever) for not blowing up the Klingon home world despite Klingons killing her parents, it's hard to make sense of it. The fact that the war ends so conveniently makes Burnham's actions seem incredibly magnanimous, but it's just highly unrealistic. How many Federation innocent people had the Klingons destroyed? (80K just on Starbase 1...)

My issue is why the episode spends so much time with the landing party screwing around in the nightclub instead of the ending of the war and the epilogue. Some of this is just swept under the rug too quickly, but it's not the first time it happens on Trek.

Also, I can’t figure out what DSC is trying to achieve with all the TOS overlap. The ending music was the ending music for TOS, which is nice, but what’s the point? DSC is nothing compared to TOS in terms of characters, stories, themes. It does create a good dark, tense atmosphere though.

So we end with Discovery meeting the Enterprise led by Capt. Pike. Interesting teaser for Season 2. Gotta think at some point the show will meet up with Spock who served with Pike and maybe in the future Captain Kirk if it runs enough seasons. And who will be the new captain of Discovery if Saru's just acting captain? I guess Burnham if she has her rank back.

2.5 stars for "Will You Take My Hand?" -- wraps up everything all right but it all takes place too quickly and this episode meanders with focusing on Mirror Georgiou's repulsive actions. As expected Burnham is exonerated although how heavy-handed is it that DSC wants to show StarFleet principles are being observed and ultimately triumph? Still, not a bad ending for the first season -- Trek has done worse and also better.
Chrome
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
I also felt this could’ve been longer with more time spent on how L’Rell actions believably give her control of the Klingon Empire. The Orion town scenes were fun and all, but somehow there didn’t seem to be enough tension with our heroes lounging about town clumsily looking for leads. Although it was fun seeing how terribly cruel Georgiou is, I’m not sure she was used as effectively as she could’ve been in the finale.

On the other hand, I liked the way Burnham’s arc resolved as we hear some thoughtful considerations on why her mutiny in the premiere was wrong. It made sense that Burnham in particular could see Starfleet slipping into the same unethical military trap. Burnham’s arc has made her realize how important the Starfleet values she briefly betrayed were, and galvanized her so she could help Starfleet itself stay on track.

Tyler and Burnham were interesting to watch this time, and I could really buy the connection between an augmented Klingon spy and a child with a traumatic childhood war story. The two work so well together when they’re on the same page it’s a shame they need to be apart. I wonder, will Tyler go onto to be an important Klingon official now?

So it looks like Discovery will be assigned yet another captain and Burnham remains commander. Any guesses who will be guest captain next season?
Dan
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
I wasn't really a fan of this episode overall.

There was no need to make Mirror Georgiou the captain in the previous episode, since all she did in that role was take the Discovery to Qo'nos. She could have just stayed in her quarters until she led the away team. This is just another example of the show being obsessed with twists for their own sake. That unnecessary scene of tension on the bridge took time from resolving the Klingon war plot.

They made Mirror Georgiou an evil bisexual in the mould of Mirror Kira. The evil bi character is a well-criticised trope, I don't know how to feel about it here. Individual cases are never a bad thing, it's just the broader pattern across TV and film that's a bit of a problem (much like with Culber's death and the Bury Your Gays trope).
KT
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
I'm in the camp that thinks ST:DSC is poorly written but I was surprised at how well this episode was flowing together, for a change, until the cringe exposition started towards the end. I wonder if the writers chose to be so heavy handed or whether they just don't know how to be subtle but effective?

Having said all that, the episode has made me think for the first time since this incarnation of Trek started; I find myself rethinking DS9's 'In The Pale Moonlight' ... maybe the writers went wrong there? maybe there should have been another way for Sisko to take?

Either way, DSC has been a weird shaggy dog story and I'm not sorry it's over.
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
I'm kind of speechless at the moment at how completely lackluster that was as the ending of an arc.

I'll give the episode some credit. It didn't fall into the traps I was predicting. They didn't reset the timeline with the Spore Drive after Qo'nos was destroyed. Ash didn't make a heroic sacrifice, yet was still effectively written off the show as a main character. Burnham wasn't forced to kill MU Georgiou. And there were individual moments in the episode I liked. I really would have enjoyed something like the Qo'nos scenes if they occurred earlier in the season.

But the episode was such a huge failure in wrapping up the Klingon war. It appeared promising at the beginning, and then it's resolved by - Burnham talking Georgiou out of setting off the bomb? And then somehow, L'Rell using the bomb as a device to gain control of the Klingon Empire (essentially holding the population hostage)? Even if the Klingons were the kind of race to fall for that sort of thing, all they saw was a little electronic device - surely they'd want some sort of proof. If a person on the street comes up to you and claims they have a nuclear bomb, chances are you won't take them seriously after all. If this was a random episode of episodic Trek - even the second part of a two-parter - I'd give it some slack. But not as the end of a season-long arc. It makes season 3 of Enterprise look like a masterpiece.

As a conclusion to Burnham's arc, it was almost as bad. There were some individual character moments which worked, but there was way too much time spent by Ash, Sarek, and Georgiou complimenting Burnham and telling her how special she is. This shit is why people (wrongly IMHO) call Burnham a Mary Sue - the writers just love to insert dialogue to tell us how amazing she is as a character, rather than show it through her actions. Because the writing on this series has been so dodgy, I don't even have any real idea that she grew as character and began making better decisions. She just happened to luck out where her impulsive emotional decision in this particular case was the right one.

So yeah. Either the writing team has been asspulling this entire time, and they never had a plan, or they are, frankly, idiots. Either way, they need to purge the writers room and start over with an entirely new creative team.
JP
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
An absurd ending to an absurd show. Suddenly, Burnham starts grasping at Federation ideals when the Federation is about to be wiped out, but launches the perfect plan to foil the Klingons' imminent victory--just have a woman take control of the Klingon Empire! What a bulletproof plan! See, it's bad if the Federation threatens to destroy the Klingon homeworld, but if a Klingon woman does it to seize power, it's totally justified! Good thing you could trust L'Rell to go along with a plan that helps save the Federation, and foil the Klingons' imminent victory! All you had to do is hold the Klingon Empire hostage with the threat of genocide--way to "Remain Klingon!" Burnham then proves herself the moral superior of Sarek, the Federation admirals, and every other moral degenerate in the Federation. Her life sentence in prison for mutiny and starting the war is pardoned, and her rank of commander is restored. But the Mary Sue ending won't be complete until Burnham becomes the captain, so stay tuned for Season 2! Oh, and the Enterprise shows up, 'member the Enterprise!? Member it???
Del_Duio
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
I rather liked it, but I don't know how I feel about the Enterprise at the end. The good news? It actually looked like the Enterprise and not some weird glass ship with feathers (hahah remember those from earlier this season?) but I was hoping the Diacovery could now go and do it's own thing now that this weird war is over. Maybe some exploration?

Captain Saru? Yeah!

I think they should leave TOS alone going forward. The ending theme music was just too much. Just what does this show want to be again??
Del_Duio
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
@JP:

Oh, I 'member!
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
One final thought. In his last scene, I was thinking that out of all of the characters, Ash Tyler by far was given the best arc over the course of the series. He went from a traumatized PTSD survivor to an awakened Klingon sleeper agent, to a psychotic mess, and finally seemed to integrate both sides of his personality in the end, becoming comfortable both with his human and Klingon memories. Yes, I think the resolution (his going off with L'Rell - who he formerly saw as a torturer/rapist) was contrived. But Latif's performance sold me on his becoming a whole person, and heading off on his own, new adventure. And then the wrote this suddenly compelling character off the show as anything other than a likely recurring guest character.

His arc contrasts strongly with Burnham. As I said, Burnham never shows any real growth. She just makes random choices, many of which blow up in her face, until she makes one set of random choices (trusting MU Georgiou not to kill her, and L'Rell to hold up her end of the bargain) that seemingly work out okay.
AR
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
I was mostly enjoying the episode until the last 15 minutes, and then things got rushed, implausible, and smug.

I so desperately wanted Georgiou to shoot her, but then I remembered 1: plot armor, and 2: weapons only have stun settings when the plot requires it.

Is the detonator tied to a dead-man switch? I have to believe it was, else there's no way of explaining why they handed L'Rell the controls and expected her not to betray them, or why the Klingons in that meeting hall didn't just shoot her.

Also, to hell with that speech at the end. Besides being smug, corny as all hell, forced, and demonstrably BS (you handed L'Rell a PLANET KILLER so she could hold an entire race hostage to end the war and install herself as leader (and oh btw what happens if they find and deactivate it), and the only reason you even had that option is because you considered bombing Qo'noS in the first place, but principles for the win amirite?), I'm really starting to hate stories that boil down to 'if we just stick to our goody-two-shoes principles, everything will work out in the end!' How was that working out for you up until the 11th hour?

It would've been more interesting if they had used the bomb, and had to live with what it meant to commit such an awful act to win. Or if they had decided against it, and LOST THE WAR, because history is replete with examples of things not always working out for the good. You talk a good game about being willing to die for your beliefs, after all...but none of that was going to happen, because they made this show a TOS prequel in the Prime Universe/timeline, and this was always going to end in a massive reset button.

All that having been said, call me crazy but I mostly enjoyed this season, and I'd sure as hell take S1 of Discovery over S1 of TNG or Voyager, any day. Perhaps this finale will end up being like ENT:Storm Front, a way of quickly wrapping up a dead-end storyline and setting the show up for better stories ahead.

I have no comment about that bit of fanservice at the end, other than to say that the Enterprise is sexy as hell.

2 stars for the episode, 2.5 stars for the season as a whole.
Jeanne
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
It's sort of like they knew star trek needed to be more talk, but didn't know what KIND of talk was needed. I liked the balance a lot last week--this just felt like kind of a letdown in every way. I still feel fondly toward this show and I'd like to see it function some time when the ship isn't commanded by an evil malevolent realpolitik person--the brief moment of captain saru was almost cruel.
MiaBN
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
My optometrist will thank me for cancelling CBSAA this month. He said the eye rolling was beginning to cause permanent occular damage.

ST :DSC: "HOW DO YOU FEEL?"
ME: "I feel...nothing. I do not miss you, nor have you succeeded in emotionally affecting me."
AR
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
For next season I hope they make Saru captain. He's earned it, and there's no reason to introduce such a major new character when you really ought to spend more time fleshing out the ones you have.

Also, more Tilly please.
Mertov
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
Interesting I felt the opposite of AR above as to the layout of the episode. I thought the first 20-25 minutes were clumsy and disappointing. Tilly gets recruited on the spot by mirror-Georgiou who reveals right then that she is from mirror universe? Obviously Cornwell and Sarek had no idea about that. Should that no have raised red flags? And then the scenes with the Orions, Georgiou just wonders on her own to have some "me time" and that didn't raise red flags with the rest of the away team either? I thought they were supposed ot watch her "like a hawk."

Then comes the second half of the show, which I loved honestly. I agree with Karl above, the writers did not fall into any of the traps that I was also predicting such as the ones Karl mentioned above, and it was resolved in a creative way (at least for me). Georgiou does remain alive for possible future appearances, and so does L'Rell whom I really did not want to see die. She has been given a second chance too in a way. I guess I am just too much in love with Star Trek, in a quasi-mushy way, because I loved the last scenes, the promotion scene and the speech that could have been 15 seconds shorter. Nice appearance by Amanda and did Sarek show a glimpse of a smile? I believe he did, and that felt a bit off, but, ok...

Please don't pick up another captain and keep Saru in that post. Ok, I know that won't happen, so I can only hope the new captain is an interesting character played by a strong actor/actress.

Oh, yes. The Enterprise at the end and the ending credits with the classic Trek music. Yes!
Mertov
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
One thing I forgot above.. The way Ash's first-season arc concluded was excellent, this was probably the best episode for him other than "Into the Forest."

Foot note: Clint Howard was in this episode! Is he the first and only actor as of now to appear in both TOS ("The Corbomite Maneuver") and Discovery? If so, nice honor for him.
William
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
This episode is just moronic. The Klingons are on the doorstep of Earth and rather than ratcheting up the tension, the writers decide to indulge in gratuitous strip club scenes and fighting scenes that add nothing.

Then, Michael finds out about the plan, and all she has to do to convince Cornwall of the error this plan is give a little speech. Are we really supposed to believe everyone in Starfleet including Sarek, a famous diplomat, was onboard with this genocide plan except for Michael? That is just insulting. She also talks about how in the first episode, she had to wanted to compromise Federation principals for survival, but she didn't. She wanted to use an understanding of Klingon culture to try to reason with them. That is totally different.

Then they give L'Rell the thumbprint for the bomb. How do they know she is to be trusted? Why do the Klingons care? Just shoot her. She made a pretty easy target in the scene where she is giving her big speech. Do we really believed that Klingons who have been divided amongst warring 24 houses will care? Also, the Klilngons who care about honor are now going to be cowed by a bomb? Wouldn't death be considered the noble thing to do? This is incredibly contrived.

Then, we get a final 15 minutes of everyone congratulating Michael and she gets to give an incredibly hokey speech about how one must never compromise one's principles. This smacks of Voyager conservatism, rather than the more bold assertions by DS9.

Finally, the episode ends with more blatant fan service. So much for a new direction.
JP
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
You know what the Klingons would've said to L'Rell for holding Qo'noS hostage? "DO IT. PRESS THE BUTTON. DESTROY US. We've already conquered 75% of the Federation. Our soliders are already occupying countless worlds. Destroying Qo'noS will only spur our soldiers to complete the task at hand--the complete domination of the Alpha Quadrant. Destroying us only ensures that the entire quadrant REMAINS KLINGON."

Of course, these aren't anything like the Klingons we knew, in behavior or appearance. Just as this show isn't anything like the Star Trek we knew. What a steaming, farcical abomination.
John Harmon
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:07pm (UTC -5)
Well, the word stupid comes to mind. And simple. This ending to the season was ridiculous and like a children's book.

I wanted to believe this series would come together by season's end and the writers knew what they were ultimately doing, but I'm convinced that they're just really really bad at their jobs. It's actually kind of astounding that they got paid to write this.

I can't even fully wrap my head around everything wrong with this episode. I guess it's fitting that this war ends in about as dumb of a way as it ends. Written by people who don't understand how complex war is, or what causes it and ends it. We were promised an in depth look at this and we got shallow comic book storytelling.

And then you watch After Trek and see all the writers patting themselves on the back and it's both embarrassing and gross.

And don't even get me started on that Enterprise redesign, complete with random holes in the hull struts to make it look like a freaking bicycle frame. Do the designers not realize the hull struts are solid for the turbolifts to go through???
matthew
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

The opening teaser establishes the theme of this episode: Michael vs Philippa...or more precisely Michael vs an immoral and ideal-abandoning Federation willing to not only work with a Terran Empire warlord but give her command of a Starship and send her to nuke a planet.

Does that sound like Starfleet to you? I know the conflict allows Michael to give a big, grandiose speech about "Federation values" and she's right on, but it doesn't change the fact that the mission Michael opposes was ordered by Starfleet. It shouldn't take a commander-ranked, ex-con mutineer to put admirals in their place and remind them that WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO GO AROUND NUKING PLANETS!

I mean MY GOSH did you HEAR Admiral Lisp Lady's argument?

"We were losing the war, we had to do something."

I'm going to type this very slowly because I want to get it right and because it highlights not only what makes Star Trek so attractive and so unique among other sci-fi show, but also illustrates (by contrast) what has persistently irked me about Discovery...

Ideals cast aside for self preservation is the literal-opposite of Starfleet's mission in the show, and is the literal-opposite of Star Trek's idealism as a show!

Starfleet was Gene Roddenberry's in-show conduit, to show the viewers of the Star Trek TV-show what kind of a future we could have, if we stopped being so selfish. The idea of bombing each other into the stone age under the guise of self-preservation and the (very subjective) "greater good" is EXACTLY THE KIND OF 1960'S COLD WAR STUFF RODDENBERRY WAS ARGUING AGAINST WHEN HE MADE STAR TREK!

And here we see Starfleet using that logic to justify their actions.

For an episode that, plot-wise, was incredibly boring and uneventful, that realization (that Starfleet as Discovery's writers have made it, is the exactly what Gene Roddenberry was writing against in 1967) elicited the biggest emotional reaction of the whole season: And it was a reaction of profound sadness.

Oh but I guess it's all forgiven because the Enterprise showed up.
The Tower
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
Felt like a Berman/Braga Trek episode, circa 2000. Let's see:

Contrived stakes: Check!
Cheap McGuffin to move things along: Check!
Quick resolution to a complex problem: Check!
Main character self-fellating over morals at the end: Check!

This is the same stuff that killed Trek on TV for a decade+.

I wonder if B&B ghost-wrote this one.

On the plus side, the Enterprise shown was what the Abramsverse ship should have been.
matthew
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
Basically the evil, sadistic Lorca, while posing as a Starfleet captain, was winning the Klingon war, and the moment he left (first back to the mirror universe and then to death) Starfleet started losing the War. So what is Starfleet's solution? They go out of their way to recruit another mirror universe character; they seek out another evil, sadistic person to help them win the war. Because winning, even if it means throwing away your principles, is all that matters.

If that's seems like Star Trek to you, then you and I have different understandings of Star Trek.
Trent
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:12am (UTC -5)
Well, this episode did one thing nicely: Kronos is portrayed as a thriving, multicultural planet which resists essentialist and racist stereotyping. Klingon's are regular Joes, Michael learns, with only a slight case of imposed-from-the-top xenophobia.

Other than these brushstrokes, I found this a pretty bad episode. It's absurd, contrived and silly. The writing was also painfully on-the-nose, every emotion and meaning telegraphed bluntly. The episode's last minute attempts at "idealism" were also delivered poorly by a show whose droll realism cannot handle more abstract philosophizing.

The episode also confirms to me that this show, like most modern TV, is a giant soap opera. Like most soap operas, Discovery makes you feel obligated to watch, cons you with "guess what happens nexts!", such that the con becomes its raisen detre. It manipulates and steers conversation with its gimmicks, arbitrary plotting and casino hooks (you can't leave because you've already sunk investment). This is writing by committee, advertising executives, addiction-scientists and corporate PR experts. Totally cynical and soulless.

I've watched every Trek season 1 again recently, and would say Discovery has the worst first season of the bunch. It's like a cartoon on steroids.

TOS, in my opinion, has the strongest first season. You really feel like you're on a navy vessel exploring the wild frontier.

DS9 and TNG I'd put tied for second place. DS9 has about 5 great episodes in its first season, engages in some great worldbuilding and has some fascinating politics. TNG's first season is notoriously weak, but there are about 4 great and/or interesting episodes and it's always zany and interesting. It also did well to develop a visual language which took us away from TOS. I would also say VOY and ENT had 4 or 5 great episodes in their first season. Yes, Disco is never as dull or as bad as the worst episodes in TNG, TOS, VOY and ENT, but its peaks are stupid and its never interesting in interesting ways.

Anyway, given Discovery's themes (Michael learns to "find other options" beyond violence), here are three TNG episodes worth remembering...

From season 2, Emissary:

K'EHLEYR: No, not a chance! Talking will be a waste of time. Klingons of that era were raised to despise humans. We'll try diplomacy. But I promise you it won't work. And then you'll have to destroy them.

PICARD: No.

K'EHLEYR: Captain, Klingons are killers. You'll have no choice!

PICARD: We shall find another choice!

_________________

From Season 5, I Borg:

CRUSHER: I just think we should be plain about that. We're talking about annihilating an entire race.

PICARD: Which under most circumstances would be unconscionable. But as I see it, the Borg leave us with little choice.

RIKER: I agree. We're at war.

CRUSHER: There's been no formal declaration of war.

TROI: Not from us, but certainly from them. They've attacked us in every encounter.

PICARD: They've declared war on our way of life. We are to be assimilated.

CRUSHER: But even in war there are rules. You don't kill civilians indiscriminately.

RIKER: There are no civilians among the Borg!

PICARD: Think of them as a single, collective being. There's no one Borg who is more an individual than your arm or your leg.

CRUSHER: How convenient.

PICARD: Your point, Doctor?

CRUSHER: When I look at my patient, I don't see a collective consciousness. I don't see a hive. I see a living, breathing boy who's been hurt and who needs our help. And we're talking about sending him back to his people as an instrument of destruction.

PICARD: It comes down to this. We're faced with an enemy who are determined to destroy us, and we have no hope of negotiating a peace. Unless that changes, we are justified in doing anything we can to survive.

(Guinan Enters)

PICARD: If you're here to persuade me not to use the invasive programme.

GUINAN: I need you to persuade me.

PICARD: Two days ago, you were upset about the Borg even being on the ship. And now you're here questioning whether it should be treated as the enemy.

GUINAN: If you're going to use this person...

PICARD: It's not a person, damn it, it's a Borg!

GUINAN: If you are going to use this person to destroy his race, you should at least look him in the eye once before you do it.

PICARD: Because it's been given a name by a member of my crew doesn't mean it's not a Borg. Because it's young doesn't mean that it's innocent. It is what it is, and in spite of efforts to turn it into some kind of pet I will not alter my plans.

GUINAN: Fine. But if you don't talk to him at least once, you may find that decision a harder to live with than you realise.

(Picard does some soul searching)

PICARD: I think I deliberately avoided speaking with the Borg because I didn't want anything to get in the way of our plan. But now that I have, he seems to be a fully realized individual.

LAFORGE: So you've reconsidered the plan?

PICARD: Yes. To use him in this manner, we'd be no better than the enemy that we seek to destroy. So, I want other options.

_______________________

More interesting is the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone", which plays like a condensed version of Disco's first season. In Disco, the Federation meet the Klingon's again for the first time in decades. In "The Neutral Zone", the Federation meet the Romulans for the first time in decades. Both meetings take place in a remote buffer zone. In Disco, this meeting is preceded by much chaos and even a mutiny on the bridge. In TNG, its preceded by some rational discussions on Romulan culture and tactics.

Running concurrently in Disco is a plot which contrasts the Feds with the Mirror Federation. Running concurrently in TNG is a plot in which 20th century humans are revived. These humans are deemed backwards (the mirror opposite of Picard and the gang) and constantly try to interrupt Picard's "first contact" with the Romulans.

This subplot has been deemed "pointless" by many, but in light of Disco now seems kind of profound. These 21st century humans - drunks, sentimentalists, and uber capitalists - and their principles will not infect newfound relations between the Federation and the Romulans; they are the past. Here the series is at its most utopian, this episode functioning as a giant message to the then contemporary Soviet Union and United States. "Our mission is to go forward," Picard says at the episode's close when prompted about his interest in the past, "and it's just begun. [...] There's still much to do. There's still so much to learn."

The episode then ends with a kind of loose alliance between the Feds and Romulans. Disco's season 1, of course, ends in the same way. The crew move forward and onwards and bridges are built between the Klingons and Feds. In this way, this one TNG episode is a kind of compact, more elegant version of everything Discovery's Klingon First Contact arc did. And for all its serialization and time advantages, I'd argue no Disco episode rose above these 3 similarly themed, mostly mediocre TNG episodes.
Michael
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:06am (UTC -5)
I literally burst out laughing when the Enterprise appeared and the TOS music started up over the end credits. That was unexpected.

Also, what's stopping L'Rell from taking power and then blowing up Earth as well? I don't see the connection between her having control of the bomb and suddenly becoming a pacifist towards Earth just because Burnham was nice to her. It totally goes against what we've seen of her character.
Tim
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:08am (UTC -5)
Wow, that was pathetic. All that build up, trying to get “Best of Both Worlds” stakes with the enemy literally in Earth orbit, and it ends like that? Really? I haven’t been that disappointed since the Dexter series finale.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.... well, I won’t be watching next year. Anxiously awaiting new episodes of The Orville though. Compare the last episode of The Orville’s first season to this drivel, that single bottle episode earned a better payoff than Discovery’s season long arc.
Kinematic
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Thoughts on this episode:

Michael's voice-over narration makes Deckard's voice-over from Blade Runner sound like Shakespeare.

Yeoh's brief performance on the bridge was good. Michael's insubordination is the one constant in her character! Mutiny aside, she should have been drummed out of Starfleet by now.

Bringing a mentally unstable former (?) Klingon spy on a mission to the Klingon homeworld? What could possibly go wrong?

Transporting into the middle of the Orion market attracts no attention.

Were the Orion strippers there for the plot or for the ratings?

The neural parasites from the TNG episode Conspiracy appear to be one of the street foods offered. Another is the Gormugander space whale. It's an endangered species but it's also being served as a cheap street food?

A few lines between Michael and Ash and they're having second thoughts about attacking Kronos. A couple more minutes of dialog and Starfleet has seen the error of its ways. Yeah right.

SMG's acting deflates the big scenes, and what is Georgiou's motivation anyway? She just wants to destroy Kronos and face near-certain death for the hell of it?

The Klingons have no reason to break off their attack. The war is resolved in two minutes. Taking over the Federation's territory would give L'Rell even more of a mandate to rule.

"Michael, your capacity to love literally saved my life." More absurd fluffing of the main character.

Michael tells her adoptive mother "Thank you for coming" like her mom's a subordinate who's come into work late. Check her body language in that scene too!

A horribly clunky speech, even more fluffing of Michael, and then the showrunners decide to drop their 100-megaton thermonuclear nostalgia bomb: the Enterprise! You sorry fans will paying for another year of CBSAA, won't you?


I have a feeling the producers locked the writers in a room and told them: "No one leaves or sleeps until you tie up this season!" After a year of darkness and amorality they're trying to page homage to Starfleet ideals but they're doing it in the cheapest, most hollow way possible. Ash actually got something of a real payoff for his character arc but now he's gone and no one else has believably progressed. Saru should stay captain; he's the best of the lot.
Tim
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:39am (UTC -5)
Did the writers forget about the whole Klingon-Cardassian Alliance eventually conquers the Terrans thing when they decided to destroy Mirror Qo’noS offscreen?

They threw in a fair number of nostalgic references (RIP Mirror Mintakans) for no real reason other than fan service but I guess the need to make the Emperor a Klingon killing badass took a back seat to DS9’s backstory.
Skywalker
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:59am (UTC -5)
...What the heck was that?! I just don’t know. I don’t really hate any of this, but I keep asking myself, “huh?” “what?” “why?” “really?” I mean, was there a point to all this? It feels like these episodes have been composed in parts by completely different writers with only the most superficial of connective tissue. It’s just so weird and jarring. There are some sincere attempts at ... well, at something, but it’s just so below the mark. Compare any of this to BSG: those characters immediately evoke emotions in me when I watch their stories; the star crossed romance between Boomer and Tyrol, the dignity and intensity of Roslin and Adama, the relatable non-preachy opposite sides of arguments between Apollo and Starbuck. If these characters made me feel anything, I could forgive all the rest. So far that has only been Stamets.

It was nice to see Michael smile at the end, after a very mopey season. I’m also glad her rank was restored (though without being an officer before it made no sense how she got promoted so high to begin with).

But does this show stand up to The Orville? The Expanse? To Voyager?
Tim
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 2:12am (UTC -5)
@Skywalker,

I would take Voyager as a whole over Discovery and I wasn’t particularly fond of Voyager. Voyager had worse individual episodes and whole “meh” seasons, but on balance it was a better show. Its high points (Scorpion) were light years ahead of this mess. It had compelling moral dilemmas (Tuvix) that were addressed with more gravity than Discovery brought to a war story.

Never thought I’d find myself defending Voyager.....
Clinkjet
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Lol....I loved it, warts and all. I love all the Trek shows, warts and all. And as a woman, I still especially love so much xx in/driving the stories, especially in this episode. And especially after the latest misogyny stunts from our very real Emperor Rump, in the past week. That said, I do hope season 2, now that 'hello we're back' is out of the way, slows down a bit and lets us all get more used to our new shoes.



MadManMUC
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 3:06am (UTC -5)
... and to add insult to a season's worth of injury, they felt it necessary to re-design the USS Enterprise.

Fuck this shit. Fuck this awful show. And fuck the producers. I'm done. I won't coming back for more of this shit next season, or any of the remaining seasons.
J.B.
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 3:23am (UTC -5)
As far as finales go, it was pretty disappointing. Just weird that the first half of the episode was largely wasted on superfluous scenes and then, the Klingon war got wrapped up on the word of a character (L'Rell) that absolutely no one in Starfleet should be trusting.

And the appearance of the Enterprise at the end struck me as desperate fan-service (especially the use of the TOS theme in the end credits). It made me laugh instead of the effect I'm sure was desired.

There were a couple of scenes I liked, most notably Ash Tyler and Michael's goodbye, which surprised me because their relationship always struck me as being more plot convenient than something that came naturally out of the characters. But it was really sweet, performed well by both actors. And Tilly got a couple of laughs from me, even if her character seems completely different now from the more socially awkward one that we were introduced to.

So yeah. Disappointing season, overall. A couple of my friends stopped watching it but I stuck to the bitter end. I definitely won't be continuing if they can't pull season 2 together, and fast.
Tim C
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 3:50am (UTC -5)
Two stars. An incredibly rushed conclusion to a badly mishandled war story, albeit with some decent character beats and good performances. Plus I loved the seedy look and feel of the Orion outpost.

Season one as a whole? Three stars. Discovery entertained me more often than not and I enjoyed the willingness of the creative team to push the envelope and give us a new flavour of Star Trek.

However, they badly dropped the ball in two key areas. The most noticeable was how terribly low-stakes the Klingon war felt, and how badly its progress was depicted during the show. It was all over the map, and the idea that a Klingon fleet on Earth's doorstep on the cusp of victory would have pulled out at the drop of a hat is just laughed.

The second was in rushing the finale. Only two episodes back home to wrap up an entire war? Really? Not that I really minded in the end, because I'm happy to just see this plot line deleted entirely. But narratively speaking, they sold themselves short.

Notwithstanding those issues, Discovery's first season was a mostly confidently executed adrenaline rush of batshit insane plotting and some great action adventure moments. It was, however, very thin gruel cerebrally speaking (NBC's infamous memo about The Cage would definitely not have applied here). I am ready for a change in season two. I don't want to return to an entirely stand-alone-episode mode of storytelling - The Orville has ably demonstrated just how dry that well is - but something more akin to Enterprise's fourth season, or for a more recent example, Agents of SHIELD's fourth season, with a few smaller arcs, would be ideal.

I can't wait to see all the bitter commenters who obviously despise the show come back to tell us how much they hate it! See you next year, you angry, angry Internet nerds.
artymiss
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Well, I enjoyed it! Yeah I see faults, areas for improvement but I'm still hooked. I did not expect that ending at all and I am relieved we aren't left with one of those silly WE ARE ALL GOING TO BE DESTROYED!!! type cliffhangers.

So they're going to Vulcan to pick up Discovery's new captain (sorry Saru, back to First Officer for you). I'm assuming then the new captain will be Vulcan. Could it be Soval or even T'pol??? I live in hope.

Just a little thing, I did enjoy L'rell's Klingon 'last time on Discovery!' intro.

@ J.B - I think Tilly is still very 'socially awkward', but she's more confident and comfortable now with her surroundings and the crew. She has grown. When she was on Kronos and in her scenes with evil PU Georgiou she was out of her comfort zone and back to the earlier Tilly. Loved that 'shame on you!' scene with the opportunistic Orion.
wolfstar
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 5:08am (UTC -5)
Oh.

Thus ends Enterprise Season 5, I guess?

2.5 stars. Everything about this episode that works, and a lot does (mostly in the first two-thirds), comes at the cost of making the Federation the bad guy (and thus Admiral Cornwell another Evil Admiral, not to mention Sarek's involvement in the plan), which is a massive caveat. The biggest issue is that the episode has in no way earned the moral Trekkian ending that plays out on-screen, because the hydrobomb worked - the only reason the Federation won the war is because they played the "call off your forces or we'll annihilate your homeworld" card (via Mirror Georgiou and L'Rell). The fact that that's what it took to end the war, that's how this season-long arc is resolved, unfortunately vindicates the genocide plan, which is reprehensible. I can't believe that the episode plays this as a moral, enlightened happy ending when it's a straight-up WMD blackmail situation. And then they let Mirror Georgiou go. Unbelievable.

Latif was good as usual, and Martin-Green was really good this week, better than in any previous episode. The fact that Burnham, Tyler, Tilly and Saru showed solidarity and worked together to take on Mirror Georgiou in the early part of the episode was good, and the characterization worked - but they should never have been forced into that situation. Mirror Georgiou came round unrealistically quickly when confronted by Burnham, and the Klingon retreat was too swift and simplistic also. It plays as a Michael Is Magic insta-solve.

The ending is a lot of fan service, and less earned and genuinely resonant than the ending of Terra Prime. In part, it plays like a cliche Star Wars "everyone gets a medal" victory parade scene.

We're left with a season-long arc in which the Federation becomes genocidal and Only One Person, former mutineer Michael, can show them the error of their ways. So the Michael character is redeemed at the cost of making Starfleet completely amoral; her record is wiped clean and she's given a new commission as Commander because she stopped Starfleet from committing genocide. Wow. Redeeming your troubled protagonist ready for season 2 at the cost of the Star Trek universe's worldbuilding and value system is a big price. The ending is a reset button, even if no time shenanigans are involved - and the use of Cornwell, who until now has been well-played and consistently written, as the episode's de-facto antagonist who has to be shown the error of her ways and talked out of mass murder, does significant damage to her character (ditto Sarek).

I liked the depiction of the Orion outpost on Kronos, which was gritty without being gratuitous and (unless almost every previous Orion scene) didn't pander to any particular demographic. Tilly had some good moments but Wiseman still plays her as too sitcommy for my taste, or like a character out of a Joss Whedon show.

See y'all in 2019?
wolfstar
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 5:10am (UTC -5)
*unlike
manolo
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 5:39am (UTC -5)
Sorry for the kids reading this, and delete my comment if it's offensive, but what a load of crap this whole show, not only this episode, is. As I said before, STD's season 1 served to understand the wrath of CBS against Axanar and all the fandome. Fans have better ideas than paid writers, who apparently are not well paid to take the time to at least watch some of the previous shows to understand what they're crapping on. I hope some chillionaire could buy the franchise in the future and deem this trash as non-canon alongside with JarJar's movies.
They can shove the "nostalgia" with which they intended to finish the season up to wherever they want to fit it.

P.S.: Sarek being proud of a human ("being proud", a Vulcan???) and not of his son (or sons, if you want to take Sybok into account), well...
Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 5:59am (UTC -5)
@manolo

Vulcans have been well established as having emotions underneath the layers of carefully developed control.

The only way to reject that is a fundamentalist-like latching onto a few statements in TOS to the exclusion of all other development of their culture.

If he has more positive feelings towards her than Spock in some ways it may be because Spock rejected Sarek's goals for his life. He probably also holds Spock to higher standards in general.
James Smith
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 6:08am (UTC -5)
*sigh*

So, we've got Burnham as a full-on Mary Sue. The one true saviour of the Federation's moral code. We've got the whole war arc essentially resolved instantly by handing control of a Big F***ing Bomb™ to one of the enemy. We've got MU Georgiou still in play somewhere for no good reason. And then they cap the episode by showing something that's referred to as the Enterprise but it sure don't look like the Enterprise...

Nope. Sorry. This whole season has been one mis-step after another, and now it's fallen over entirely and faceplanted the ground.
Del_Duio
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 6:58am (UTC -5)
@MiaBN:

"My optometrist will thank me for cancelling CBSAA this month. He said the eye rolling was beginning to cause permanent occular damage."

Hahahahaha!
Del_Duio
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:02am (UTC -5)
@John Harmon:

"And then you watch After Trek and see all the writers patting themselves on the back and it's both embarrassing and gross."

I've never watched After Trek until last night and wow you're right it was incredible stupid. It's set up like a Big Brother end of season cast reunion special with Julie Chen or something.. terrible. I couldn't get past maybe 5 or 6 minutes before shutting it off.

You're right though, they think they're the cat's meow for sure. I don't have a lot of confidence they'll improve much on S2.
Chappity
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:05am (UTC -5)
@Mertov:

Indeed—and I recognized Clint Howard as the insane vagrant occupying part of a building in DS9's "Past Tense, Part II". Apparently he was also a Ferengi in ENT: "Acquisition" as well, so he's definitely done the rounds.
Dom
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
@Trent, "The episode also confirms to me that this show, like most modern TV, is a giant soap opera. Like most soap operas, Discovery makes you feel obligated to watch, cons you with "guess what happens nexts!", such that the con becomes its raisen detre. It manipulates and steers conversation with its gimmicks, arbitrary plotting and casino hooks (you can't leave because you've already sunk investment). This is writing by committee, advertising executives, addiction-scientists and corporate PR experts. Totally cynical and soulless."

This is the problem with most TV. It's such a cutthroat environment with so many shows that writers are left trying to "hook" viewers with some "mystery box" so they'll come back for more. Writers don't have the freedom to build the story up slowly because so many shows get canceled nowadays. During the 1990s, Trek shows were pretty much guaranteed 7 years, which helped DS9 at least go for a more satisfying slow-burn.

I never thought a new Trek show would air and wish it hadn't. I wasn't optimistic about Discovery when I heard about all the behind-the-scenes chaos, but this show is worse than I'd feared. I'd at least expected a reasonably decent sci-fi adventure, if not something that had TNG and DS9's intellectualism. There were some things that worked in Discovery (Stamets, the tardigrade), but I'm still kind of shocked that something bearing the Star Trek name is just so bad.

I know this sounds hyperbolic, but in a way Trek just feels dead to me right now. It was one thing for the Abrams movies to move away from the liberal humanism of Trek because the movies always tended to be more on the action side, but I'd hoped a TV show would get Trek back to its roots. Instead, Discovery feels like a confirmation that Trek is no longer the franchise it once was. It's no longer the premier sci-fi show on TV. The good news is that we have hundreds of episodes from the heyday of Trek that are on Netflix and I can rewatch those anytime.

So I won't be back for Season 2. Life is too short. But I've enjoyed the conversations here at least.
1982741241
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 9:09am (UTC -5)
"I know this sounds hyperbolic"

I mean, because it is. More melodramatic than Discovery ever was.
Gee
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 10:37am (UTC -5)
St:Dsc makes Berman&Bragga look like geniuses who actually did care about canon and understood Roddenberry's vision of the future.
Dom
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 10:59am (UTC -5)
@Gee, ironic, isn't it? I'd never pretend ENT and VOY are great shows, but they actually have some pretty good episodes I could see myself watching in 10 years time. And to be fair on Enterprise they were constrained a lot by the corporate side, which was trying to force all kinds of crazy onto the show.
MiaBN
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 11:07am (UTC -5)
It shouldn't come as a surprise after they let Mudd walk (remember that?)...but in this episode...

1. They let a violent megalomanic walk free, despite her very existence posing a major threat to Federation security. Even Hitler didn't eat *people*, right?

2. They released a mentally unstable enemy spy, who served as chief of security on a ship with access to incredibly classified intelligence and tech - a spy who flipped once and could easily flip again. James Bond would have just shot him.

3. They handed a planet-busting genocide bomb over to an avowed enemy who was a member of a racist cult that hated the Federation, and released her too. That's like giving bin Laden a nuke because he says he can keep the middle east in check for us.

4. JJ Kirk lost Vulcan and blew up an enemy ship, and he got directly promoted to captain. Mikey saved a whole planet, but embarassed the admiralty assholes, so she only got to be a Commander.

5. Sarek practically hugged Mikey while weeping tears of love. No wonder Spock couldn't stand to see his dad in TOS. There is Spock, decorated officer, good Vulcan, and brilliant in nearly every way, but his dad has a big soft spot for the mutinous ex-con he adopted.


Final thoughts...

I am not such a cheap date that I'll give it up in exchange for them showing me a flyby of a Discoverized Enterprise. That's 'I bought you dinner, so you gotta put out now' writing. #metoo

Garak could have solved this whole season's problems while hemming a dress.
Jrpl
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 11:26am (UTC -5)
I haven't seen a single episode of Discovery yet. In Canada it's showing on the Space network and not available on Netflix or any other streaming platform, and CBS's platform is not available here. I haven't had cable since 2003, and never will again. So with no way to watch the show, I've been happy to spoil it by reading reviews and fan chatter.

I want to be open -minded. I loved the first JJ film. The other two not so much. Discovery seems interesting, but from what I can tell from what you guys have said, it sounds just as inconsistent as Voyager and Enterprise were.

On a side note, the whole idea of a spore drive really turns me off. It just sounds really, really silly. I also saw a clip of the show on youtube in which the Enterprise goes to warp and seems to be moving downwards instead of straight ahead as though it were being propelled by thrusters on the top of the ship. Makes me feel like the JJ movies did in that there's a blatant disregard for basic physics. I realize warp drive is simply a made up concept, but at least keep the same internal consistency.

At least Discovery doesn't have Khan's magic blood. So it at least has that going for it...

Speaking of, what the hell were the writers of Into Darkness thinking? If you introduce a magical way to bring your characters back to life you destroy all sense of drama and tension going forward. It's rule one of writing drama.

That said, they brought back Spock in TSFS so...
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 11:29am (UTC -5)
This is both the best and worst episode of DISC's S1. It's the best because for the first time we're actually being shown a 'strange new world' and seeing some local life there. We could discard the greater needs of the plot and focus on that environment itself and I'd have been the happier for it. Despite it actually being Kronos, having us visit an Orion base there allowed for an interesting mix of peoples. I thought it was most bizarre for people there to automatically call the human visitors "Starfleet" in an accusatory manner; would Klingons haphazardly address possible Starfleet members in merely derogatory terms when they're otherwise in a war to the death with them? I found that a bit odd, and really didn't know why they didn't disguise themselves as Orions. But nevertheless it was good to take some time to explore a world to some extent, even though the timing is all wrong and this should have happened much earlier in the season. The finale of an arc shouldn't have been a meet and greet episode of a new culture, and considering the hectic pace of typical episodes this one had a remarkably slow pace given the stakes involved.

Another reason this was DISC's best episode is that Burnham's scenes were far less aggravating than normal and SMG herself seems to have had a more relaxed approach to her character in this episode. I wasn't anything great, but wasn't actively bad either in some of the ways I've seen before. The moments where she was obliged by the script to act holier-than-thou can't be faulted to the actress.

Another good part of the episode was that Cornwall was open to reason and didn't devolve into a sinister bad guy that Michael had to oppose. It was still *very bad* that the Federation was portrayed as they were, but at least this didn't become another Lorca situation where only action-hero Michael could save the day.

Now for why it's the worst episode of the season. All of my fears from before have been vindicated, and it's now become clear that the Federation is morally decadent and isn't the Federation we know. It's stated blatantly in the episode that the Federation sees its vaunted principles only as a luxury, and that in a time of crisis it doesn't have the luxury of principles. Well lah dee dah, that pretty much makes it about as principled as a modern government. So much for utopia. So all of the previous discussion about why Lorca was allowed to get away with what he did seems to have been answered: because this Starfleet operates on an ends-justify-the-means schema. Needless to say I'm more or less now prepared to declare this series as non-canon, since this isn't the Starfleet of the PU. At best I'll accept that we're watching ST: Sliders and that this is a parallel universe.

Another reason this is the worst episode is that it all but announces officially that this has been the Michael Burnham Show all along and was never about the other cast members. We come to Trek expecting an ensemble piece, and despite what little we got about Stamets and Saru that might have been enjoyable, the finale brings home that everything going on is fundamentally about Michael's POV and her story. That makes it all the more troubling that the portrayal of her character was both overwritten and underacted. I didn't need an entire season's arc to finally show the 'amazing' character arc of Michael realizing in the end that her mutiny in the pilot was wrong. This isn't some crazy revelation that will wow us; on the contrary, the mutiny is such a WTF moment in the first place that it undermined (for me) much of the potential to care about this character in the first place. That she should now decide it was wrong is such a remedial step to take that in my estimation it now places her as qualifying as 'barely worthy of being a Federation citizen', no less the avatar of virtue she's hailed as being in this episode. Not being an insubordinate traitor is hardly a high bar to set in terms of personal growth. And frankly she seems to still be utterly insubordinate anyhow.

I won't go into the details of Michael returning to Rome in triumph, because it's just too painful to mention. That last 5-10 minutes was the most unwatchable segment this series has shown us so far. It also cements my theory that the writers have been hailing Michael all along as being this uber-hero protagonist that we're supposed to care about and think is awesome. All of the nay-sayers who think we've been getting a mixed character with good and bad points and that it wasn't really a love-in - that view has been shattered and put to rest. It was always a love-in and we were always meant to find Michael awesome, and in case we didn't get the memo the show told us so repeatedly. "Bottomless well of compassion" "your capacity to love saved my life". And so forth. That remark from !Sarek was really the first official announcement of how awesome we're all supposed to think Michael is, to confirm all the innuendo we'd be fed to that extent beforehand.

Last point of why this is the worst episode is really just the wrap-up to the 'Klingon war' is about as meaningful as the start and middle to it was. It was sort of like hearing a rumor, then hearing another rumor, and now being told to forget about the rumor. I never saw it in the first place, never believed it anyhow, and now it's gone so it doesn't matter. We are to believe that Starfleet left the fate of its remaining planets to L'Rell, who would, out of the kindness of her heart, agree to cease hostilities once she had control of all Klingons. As others have mentioned, I won't even go into how preposterous it is that she should gain control of all Klingons on account of having a bomb. Although this is perhaps an allusion to the plot of Dune, where Paul Atreides takes control of the Imperium by threatening to destroy all spice production, in the latter case it makes sense because the Empire will perish without the spice. But in the Trek world there doesn't seem to be much reason for the Klingons to hand over their combined forces to every joker holding a bomb. Why didn't anyone ever do this before? But the worse part (yes, there's a worse part!) of this plot point is...why would L'Rell call off the attack once she had control? She had wanted unification, and the destruction of the Federation, which T'Kuvma said challenged Klingon ideals. But now L'Rell is saying that the war was just a MacGuffin to unite the Klingons, and she doesn't really care about conquest after all? And so she calls off all their forces and says "ok, we're done! Come home!" Aside from being shades of the Minbari War, where there was an actual reason for the victorious forces to withdraw, I simply cannot believe that L'Rell would choose peace because she doesn't want Earth wiped out. Ridiculous.

Morally, the scenario is as vile as it is illogical. The Federation plan here seemed to be that, using a doomsday weapon, L'Rell would force the Klingons to withdraw from Earth. But how is that different from Michael using it to force them to withdraw, or anyone? Threatening planetary annihilation in exchange for peace seems to me the same whether a Klingon or Human is holding the trigger. So how, again, is this supposed to be the "other way" that magical Michael Burnham discovered? What, exactly, is Sarek so impressed with that she figured out? They used the ultimate weapon in the end anyhow, just as an ongoing threat rather than an actual use. Amazingly, actually nuking Kronos wouldn't have saved Earth anyhow, so it wasn't even a real plan. Holding it over them would have been the only viable option, which I guess no one but Burnham is smart enough to have discovered, and no one (including her) was smart enough to realize was still a genocidal tactic.

On a side note, the writers did manage to one-up me in terms of the scaling power of the jump drive. I had mentioned previously how this god-drive could basically do anything and that the writers were thinking too small in terms of what it could actually accomplish. But alas I was outdone because I hadn't gone so far as to consider using it as a Death Star to wipe out planets. So they beat me on that one, and have only confirmed how foolish it is to have a tech like this on a serialized show. It simply solves every problem by itself and ends up being more of a horror-show than anything in portraying a future where 80,000 lives can die helplessly but the only power in the Federation that can do anything to save Humanity is this magic-tech device that has access to the Q Continuum or whatever. It basically puts all of humanity at the mercy of this drive and allows the species to stand or fall based on whether it's working this week. It's a really depressing situation to have to witness, and highly dystopian in my view.

Overall this was a fitting finale to the season, staying true to the values the writers have been bringing to us and to their obsession with Michael.
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Just poor. Other than in the previous few episodes, I see almost no redeeming feature at all this time. So it ends as bad as it began. Shame. 1.5
BZ
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
My biggest problem here is L'rell and I can't really get past that because the whole episode hinges on her plot point.

L'rell was originally a pupped-master behind the scenes. She created the Ash/Voq hybrid to do... something, but certainly not anything sympathetic to Starfleet. She was all on-board with the "Remain Klingon" xenophobia thing. Then she was captured and, during her time aboard Discovery, was basically used to be interrogated as the face of the Klingons. During her time on the ship, the only thing she did that was good for Our Heroes is stabilize Ash/Voq. And she only did that because she "loved him".

So why the hell would she end the war? She's basically the torchbearer now. Of a movement defined by uniting the empire in the face of a common enemy. She herself was saying just last episode that the Klingons will not stop fighting back until they either win or are utterly defeated. L'Rell is not against this course of action at all. So again, why stop?

I can go on, but I think I've made my point.
Chrome
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
"She herself was saying just last episode that the Klingons will not stop fighting back until they either win or are utterly defeated. L'Rell is not against this course of action at all. So again, why stop?"

L'Rell made a deal with Burnham where L'Rell would seize power of the Empire and call off the attack on Federation territories. The way I see it, L'Rell's endgame isn't to conquer the Federation or the Alpha Quadrant, but to unite the warring houses under Kahless's religion. The Federation invasion was original just a means to an end for L'Rell and Voq, so once the ends were achieved, they didn't need to keep fighting the Federation.

Of course, the question is, what's to stop L'Rell from breaking the deal and going on the warpath if the time comes? I suppose that's one reason Tyler/Voq felt the need to go with L'Rell. Tyler wanted to see that the non-war path he and Burnham created come to fruition. And L'Rell still cares for him as Voq and will probably listen to him.
Chris
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Very interesting to watch how the franchise owners/marketing agency tackles online feedback--it's obvious that they'd do this, but the main handles are constantly ReTweet the gushing and fan fawning, in addition to the excitement from actors/producers--and boy does that not make one feel as if this show accomplished something noble? What, just being on the air is an achievement worth celebrating? I guess so. Who am I/who are we to be judgmental pricks and rain on the parade.

But, this diverse cast and glitzy presentation aren't enough to assuage the fact that the writing, the point of the show, is objectively devoid of intellectualism. Klingons are the "Make America Great" crowd, but did we learn ANYTHING at all about their wishes and dreams, their struggles or their viewpoints that is worth a damn? We really needed Michael, Saru and the bridge crew to stand up and say NO to genocide?? Or that a Mirror Universe barbarian shows us how horrible humans can be to one another (and even that was half-assed). Come on, where are the worthwhile IDEAS?

And I suppose this is where (my) internet outrage comes from-- seeing a hyperbolic "omg this is the best ST series EVER" tweet then RTed by the same writers who came up with these gimmicky, totally nonsensical plot points... I'm not saying I got hired by Hollywood to produce TV and I know best, ok? But, come on, there have been 50 years' worth of Star Trek and there was a lot of outstanding material there to aspire to, to borrow from beyond just elements for fan service. This show missed the mark on what I think a good number of folks out there wanted to see from a new Trek TV show: a discussion of IDEAS.

Am I just too old to be able to ask for the action AND the allegory? :(
Ubik
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
@Peter

In general, your main attack on this show, and this episode in particular, is, I think, that the Federation being depicted is not the utopia we have come to expect from later fictional representations of the Federation. Now, I concur, there are whole loads of problems with this episode which, unfortunately, make the season leading up to it less good than it was before, but I do want to focus on that one complaint of yours, because it does seem unsustainable to me.

Basically, you are arguing that the people who founded this utopia need to already be the utopic individuals that the utopia is designed to bring about. This is a classic paradox in the representation of utopias, explored most interestingly, to my mind, by Fredric Jameson, but the core problem here is a confusion of cause and effect. Do perfect, utopic individuals bring about a Utopic Federation, or does a perfect, utopic Federation alter human nature to create utopic individuals? If the former, then how did these people become perfect in the first place, if it is usually assumed that it is the society, the utopia, that causes people to become more perfect selves? Which came first?

Essentially, you are blaming the early Federation citizens and leadership for not already being the perfected Federation citizens that the Federation itself is meant to create. But this is less a fault of the writers of Discovery and more a structural impossibility of depicting utopia in the first place. In your mind, when DID the Federation become a utopia? When did Federation citizens become more perfect individuals than we are? It's easy enough to depict a Federation where human nature has already changed, and Picard can give speeches about how humans no longer care about personal possessions or feel jealousy or whatever, but how did they BECOME this way? What fissure in human history did these people cross that allowed them to alter utterly the very nature of being human? Were they already that way BEFORE the Federation itself was formed? If so, how? Or was it the structure of the Federation and its utopic constitution that TRANSFORMED imperfect humans (us) into utopic humans?

I guess what I'm saying is, if the Discovery writers are trying to fictionally depict that transformation, to show us HOW a flawed human Empire became a utopic civilization, to show how a flawed humanity somehow overcame its natural instincts to become the angelic beings of The Next Generation, I think that's a hugely ambitious and valuable goal; it's not something Star Trek has ever really attempted before. The writers of TOS, and especially TNG, just took for granted that human nature itself could change completely, but they were happy enough avoiding a fictional depiction of that process. We were always meant to take it on faith. Now, the writers of Discovery, attempting this probably impossible feat of representation, haven't quite made that transformation believable or smooth, not at all, but it makes no sense, to me, to criticize them for trying. It's something most writers of utopia have avoided doing, for obvious reasons - because such a transformation goes against our reality principle; we all know it just isn't possible.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Thinking about the "small quadrant" syndrome in this show for a second. Does it strike anyone else as ridiculous that the show introduced four Klingons within the first few episodes (T'Kumva, Kol, Voq, and L'Rell). Two died by Burnham's hand, and one became Ash Tyler. Rather than add any depth to the Klingon war arc by introducing a new Klingon character at the end, the plot is resolved through L'Rell, a character who has been sitting in the Discovery's brig doing nothing for five episodes straight? The leaders of the various Klingon houses remain faceless enemies, and all we really get to see of Klingon culture is a couple of them gambling (which is still the best Klingon scene in the entire arc - the first time any of them have seemingly enjoyed themselves).
Dom
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
@Chris, I agree, and frankly I think the writers were somewhat dishonest about where they were taking the show. They kept promising we'd get a rich exploration of the Klingons, that we'd see things from their side, they'd be 3 dimensional characters, etc. Yet none of that happened.

@Ubik, there are two big issues here. First, in Trek continuity, the Federation had already become benevolent, if not a true utopia, by the time of Enterprise, some 100 years before Discovery. Second, Peter isn't really talking about utopia per se. Really, what we're talking about is enlightenment. I don't know if the Federation is really ever a utopia, and it certainly wasn't in TOS. But Trek is *utopian*. Trek has always been aspirational and presented the Federation as something to which we should aspire.

Either way, it doesn't matter if we call the Federation utopian, aspirational, etc, because Peter's point was really that it's none of the above in Discovery. In Discovery, the Federation is immoral and incompetent. If they trying to show that transformation into something better... well, that just doesn't really come across at all. Maybe the story has been too focused on Burnham and not enough on the Federation at large for us to see that.
Mertov
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
Jrpl,
For my part, I'd be very interested (ref: "Into the Forest I go" comments section, bottom half) in hearing what you think once you have finished the season. I am assuming you will watch the episodes in succession and at a much more frequent rate (or even binge in a matter of days) than the once-a-week pace that most of us did, and I would love to hear your perspective coming from that experience, especially that you are, I presume, in the group of millions who no longer watch series once a week since you have been off cable since 2003.
Again, hope to hear from you once you finished watching.

Chappity,
I totally forgot about his appearances in DS9 and ENT. He is an alumni indeed.

Chris,
No you're not, and your criticism is very fair. There was great character development (and growth) for a couple of characters but like you say, while the action sequences were great, the discussion of ideas fell short.
blazzano
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
I was disappointed in how this episode tried to handle the hostage-taking of Qo'noS. I just feel that Klingons are not going to respect such an outlandish claim about such a weapon without proof.

Simple workaround: there should have been hundreds of those small bombs delivered into the planet's interior, distributed all around the globe. That way there would have been an opportunity for L'Rell to detonate one in an uninhabited area as a demonstration. This doesn't seem all that convoluted to me given how small the bombs were.

More time should have also been used to explain why the Klingons would accept the leadership of someone using such a gambit. A bit of lore-building, if you will. L'Rell could have explained it in her speech to the rest of the Klingons. Example explanation that would have satisfied me: "The reason I was able to put this knife to all your throats is because divided, you were complacent. You underestimated your enemy, and their ability to strike at the homeworld. It was their knife, but now it is mine, and you will yield to me. In time, you will learn how to live as part of a united Klingon race. Then every knife will be pointed at our enemies."

...though hopefully better written than what I wrote up there. ;-)
Lara
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
I love the gay characters and the diverse reality this series is working to present. I feel the series is a story for me and I'm no longer on the other side of the glass. I also appreciate the focus on science and addressing real world concerns such as Climate Change. Bravo Discovery!
Mertov
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
The problem with the utopic vision of Starfleet is that when held under scrutiny to each series in the franchise, it does not hold water. I would argue that people in Starfleet are well aware of that too and that is why it remains a concept for which to aspire, while knowing full well that it cannot apply to every real-life situation. The long list of admirals and captains who backed despicable ideas, especially during dire times, from ENT to Nemesis (chronologically) shows that they have aspired for it but knew realistically that it can brushed aside at times. If we hold each series to meticulous scrutiny under the umbrella of Starfleet principles, they would struggle. However, the pursuit of the concept yields its rewards so much more than if the concept was eliminated altogether.
Mertov
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
.... and through that pursuit, there are also a ton of victories along the way, and characters that grow.

(above, I clicked submit before I meant to, sorry)
Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
@blazzano

They never take the time to explain things like that but I'd guess Quo'nos is of such innate subjective value to most Klingons that they'd surrender at least to another Klingon before letting it get blown up. It's like a psychological/spiritual equivalent of Paul's threat to blow up Arakis.
Hank
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Disgusting. Who do they think we are?

Never mind the bullshit that is having Mirror Georgiou in charge - it was absolutely obvious that her plan was genocide. And the Feds aprove? Bullshit. When they are that morally bankrupt - fuck them, let the Klingons win.

But where I couldn't stop bashing my forehead against the wall in disbelief and desperation was when they handed L'Rell the detonator ... Ok, here is how this would have played out:

L'Rell to the Klingon High Council: "Yo, guys, the feds placed a bomb that can destroy our planet - but I have stolen their detonator! This proves that T'Kuvma was right! You will accept me as your leader now, because I hold Kronos in my hand. Now we wipe out the Federation!" *Federation dies*

or: L'Rell to High Council: "I got a bomb that can destroy Kronos! Make peace with the federation!" *sharpshooter kills L'Rell, Klingons proceed to destroy the Federation*

Why would L'Rell end the war with the Federation? She hasn't got a single reason to do so. It only makes her look weak. It is completely unrealistic. Fuck the writers for this piece of turd and the self-congratulatory ending they wrote for this episode. You did everything wrong. You proved that the Klingons where right when they saw the Feds as a menace that can't be trusted. You betrayed fifty years of Star Trek history, and worst of all, you take us all for idiots who are unable to follow basic plot lines. Fuck you.

Burnhams speech: What an utterly idiotic thing. "We will not take shortcuts!" Oh, like threatening an enemy with genocide, only to then hand of the bomb to an unstable extremist, to make her the leader by giving her the option of genocide? Fuck you Micheal Burnham. "We will put evil emperors in charge!" "Yes, that is StarFleet" "We will use genocide" "Yes, that is who we are!" "We will do utterly stupid things that only work out because Micheal Fucking Sue is a fucking Mary Sue!" "Thats who we always will be!" And Sarek you spineless coward, you went along with that plan, you imbecile lunatic. Kill yourself, you have disgraced everything vulcan. Your logic is worthless.

And, to add a final insult to injury, Saru asks if they have cleared the Sol System ... with Neptun in front of them. Do you think we are all idiots? And fuck you too for giving us the Enterprise and the ending theme, like some kind of treat. We know that you will shit all over that series anyways, just stop it, that will not make up for your completely botched story.

And don't even try to defend this utter display of stupidity. It is stupid from front to back. There was no reason for L'Rell to end the war - NONE, nada. Everything else that happened in the episode is completely irrelevant. This single "Plot Twist" ruins everything. Whoever wrote that unbelievable storyline should be fired on the spot. No excuses. At least a reset button resets things - yes, it is also very bad writing, but here, it is even worse. I lack the words to describe how utterly idiotic this storyline is. Who thought this was a good idea? "Yes, sure, we let Hitler live, give him the Bomb, and he will just make peace with us when he is about an inch away from winning, because our fleet is destroyed and his fleet is right at our home!" Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. And no, this is not hyperbole, this is the worst fucking story ever put on TV. Oh well, I am sure some smartass will find a worse story somewhere, but who cares.

The only good guys in this whole series are the Klingons: They try to preserve their heritage against an expanding amoral genocidal empire, and in the end, they take pity on the fools and don't eradicate them, even though they have the option and every justification imaginable. Good for them, Remain Klingon! They could not have written better propaganda for anti-star-trek philosophy than this if they tried. We only learned one thing: Might makes right. And Micheal Burnham is the worst case of Mary Sue I have ever seen outside of fanfiction, played by one of the worst actresses I have ever seen. God what a trainwreck. This is worse than my wildest speculations, and as you all know I am quite good at being pessimistic and over the top. God what an aweful show. I am so glad that I live outside the US and never had to pay a single dime for this turd. Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.
Mertov
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Wow... good to know (at least) that this commentary section serves as relief for anger issues..
Chris
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Hey, question-- what do you think Nick Meyer's ultimate role was at the start of/during this season? Do you think his input even made a dent?
artymiss
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
I have a question --- if someone is guilty of something in the mirror universe are they to be held accountable in the prime universe??? Georgiou is clearly a homicidal maniac but she hasn't done anything illegal in the prime universe (yet...) so she is allowed her freedom. This is clearly a Very Bad Idea but did the Federation have much of a legal choice in this matter? Even if she'd set off the massive bomb she could argue - correctly - that she was acting for the Federation.
BZ
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
@artymiss,
Well, it depends on whether the MU and the PU have an extradition treaty. Seriously, it is, of course, a bad idea, but I don't think it's illegal. I mean former dictators go into self-imposed exile abroad here on Earth all the time.
Trent
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Ubik said: "when DID the Federation become a utopia? It's easy enough to depict a Federation where human nature has already changed, and Picard can give speeches about how humans no longer care about personal possessions or feel jealousy or whatever, but how did they BECOME this way?"

In Discovery's pilot and final episode, Phillipa and Michael make it clear that the Federation is ALREADY utopian. Michael, in this episode's monologue, accuses the Federation of drifting "from its values and ideals". The Federation in Discovery is not learning how to become an idealistic utopia, those are the values it already embodies. Those are its core tenets which the war challenges.

Ubike said: "I guess what I'm saying is, if the Discovery writers are trying to fictionally depict that transformation, to show us HOW a flawed human Empire became a utopic civilization"

But their own writing says otherwise. And Trek canon says otherwise*. Discovery is not the tale of the Federation learning to be a righteous utopia, it is the tale of a utopia (2 characters even say that crime and poverty have already been solved) being attacked by Klingons, and in a moment of desperation, ending a conflict by threatening to use a WMD (somehow this violent threat is then sold as being"enlightened").

*according to canon, Earth becomes a utopia after the social reforms of the 1990s plus the brutalities of WW3 20 years later, forced profound changes, changes amplified by meeting the Vulcans. The Federation then becomes a means of spreading "enlightened" Terran/Vulcan values to all who wish join. The Romulans and Klingons then refuse to assimilate.

Chris said: "Hey, question-- what do you think Nick Meyer's ultimate role was at the start of/during this season?"

I think he was just hired as a PR move; if you hire the guy regarded as Trek's best director, you instantly acquire street cred from fans.
Hank
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
@Artymiss, BZ: Well, there is a difference between a former head of state going into exile (and being watched carefully) and handing an evil empress the command of a space ship with the explicitly stated intent of government sanctioned genocide ... I appreciate the subtlety of the question, but I think it pales in comparison to the giant elephant in the room.

As for legality: Mirror Philippa is not a citizen of the prime universe, so it is debatable if she even has basic human rights, from a legal perspective. And even if she has, she is not a citizen of any entity recognized by the Federation, so I guess she has no legal protections whatsoever. At least if the law works the same way it works on earth right now. There is also the option to just classify her as insane, unstable or dangerous and put her in a mental institutions - like the genetically engineered people Dr. Bashir worked with in that one DS9 Episode. Dr. Bashir himself would have faced serious repressions if his status as genetically modified was known, even though he never actually did anything illegal.

But, if human rights are extended to her, because it makes no difference that she was born in the mirror universe, it is only logical to assume that her crimes carry over as well. After all, you can't have one but not the other.

But since Star Trek focuses on morals and not on law, the question should be: Is it moral to set such a dangerous individual free, instead of putting her into custody of some form?
Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

I don't think any group even in fiction (or at least good fiction) becomes a utopia all at once or is never anything but a utopia. The Federation holds values and goals that can be reasonably called utopian when compared to the track record of its member planets' pasts and most of the other societies in it's part of the galaxy.

Over the few hundred year period Star Trek is set, the general trend is to improve, as well (with perhaps some periods of temporary decline as well). Serious deviations from the Federation's progressive norms are almost always local and temporary.

But improving or even maintaining what they have has to be a continual process and requires renewed commitment especially during challenges as severe as one in which 1/3rd of the fleet and 20% of the territory are rapidly lost.
Hank
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
@Ed: Yes, gradual changes are realistic - not jumping straight to genocide. Even the morphogenic virus that targeted the founders was never sanctioned officially by Starfleet, and Section 31 always was portrayed as an evil shadowy organization that had gained too much power and was working independently (and sometimes against the wishes) of Starfleet.
Lynos
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Well, I wish the series started the way it ended, with this warm ode to Starfleet and seeing the Enterprise, an almost shameful way to make sure everyone gets back to season 2... and you know you're all coming back.

The solution to the Klingon war didn't make much sense to me, to be honest. It felt a little too convenient.
And even if the Discovery crew prevented the annihilation of Kronos, the fact remains Starfleet brass still agreed to this plan and were perfectly ready to execute it. This whole thing was glossed over. All it took was one passionate speech, and more ambiguities were non-existent.

It was nice seeing the Orions again, so one-note but so entertaining.

Decent episode, but the whole season/series was very problematic. Let's hope it gets a little better in season 2.

Still an amazing-looking show, though.

BZ
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
@Trent,
Of course it's immoral to release her, though if the ridiculous premise of the show is to be taken at face value (she's the only one that can save the federation from the Klingons) one might argue that Starfleet had to compromise with her to get her to help. Then they can't really renege later because it's not Georgiou's fault Michael talked them out of following through with her plan.
Steve
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
I thought the season was pretty decent until this episode....but wow. This was terrible. A few things...

1 - Sarek would never ever agree to attempted genocide and using indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction. Ridiculous.

2 - That speech at the end was terrible. Who was she talking to anyway? They were in the middle of a medal ceremony and she starts rambling on like a mad person.

3 - Klingon ships in the Sol system...was hoping for some epic last stand. Instead we get Orion Sex Slaves.

4- Admiral Lisp...I know it's not her fault but man, that lisp...what's going on. Can't take her seriously with that lisp going on.

Jrpl
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
Mertov: It could be a long wait. I'm holding out hope it'll show up on itunes or netflix here at some point. I'd even consider picking up the blu ray if they go that route.

I am currently doing a rewatch of Voyager and oh boy do parts of that show not hold up at all. Though I still love the look of it. It's still my favorite looking ship interior.
NK
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Hi guys. I have been reading the comments by everyone here since Discovery started a few months ago. I really enjoy the comments and the way you guys really analyse things. I have never before commented as I don't think I can really match the standard of comments that are posted on this site. For a start my knowledge of ST canon is not so good. For example all I can say for the season finale is 'wow it was boring'. However just seen the finale and feel I need to get some things out my system.

Firstly - WTF! So the plan was too blow up the Klingon homeworld while there were a number of Klingon warbirds a short distance from Earth. Now if I was the Klingon commander and I just got word that the homeworld had just been blown up I would go berserk and go all suicidal attack mode on Earth. So would many other Klingon ships. Did anyone not think of that at Starfleet?? They knew the Klingons were headed to Earth. I was not comfortable with the whole genocide thing. I know the Federation was facing extinction but that just seemed going too far. What about something half-way. Place a number of high powered bombs on Qonos and cause enough damage that would weaken the Klingons and show the later that humans are not weak. Then tell the Klingons they have one hour (?? how long would it take?) to leave Federation space or else the Federation would blow the big one that would react with all that volcano stuff. Meanwhile the Federation has got Discovery back with its spore drive and the intel on cloaked ships. They can now continue the fight with possibly the upper hand.

The point is once the Discovery was 'inside' Qonos there were so many options apart from genocide.

So they gave the control to L'Rell. My first thoughts were seriously, seriously??? Wasn't this woman one of T'Kuvma original band of warriors?? And she has made it clear that she would do stop at nothing to defeat the Federation, I mean look at what she did to the man (I think) she loved?? She turned him into frikking Frankenstein's Monster. Giving her the control of the bomb its so implausible its terrible. But I have had the following thoughts: Maybe L'Rell saw this as an opportunity for her own personal rise to power. If Burnham was not willing to go genocidal the Klingons were about to attack Earth and finish the Federation, where would that leave L'Rell, she would just be another Klingon warrior. But this way she is the leader of the Klingon Empire. If the producers had at least shown some decent character development or slipped in a few lines to indicate this, then the L'Rell's decision would have looked plausible.

And it was so easy for Burnham to talk Admiral Cornwell and then evil Georgiou out of the genocide thing that it was an anti-climax. Wow that was easy, a little pep talk from Burnham and genocide was off the table in 2 minutes. At least Burnham and Georgiou could have had a fight.

I so loved Tilly's scenes, they were the highlight, I loved the scene where she realises Georgiou is the Emperor from MU. Oh I would so loved to have seen Captain Killy.

Overall as so many have already commented character development in this series was bad. I seriously didn't care for any of the characters and wouldn't have cared if anyone of the main leads had died. The only one I did like and care about, Lorca was subject of a serious character assassination one we found out he was from the mirror universe.

Oh and I really didn't like SMG's acting. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I heard the speech or should I say the cliche ridden sermon at the end. Its her dialogue delivery that is the problem for me. The way she speaks its like she is making a speech all the time or is in middle of a sermon. Nothing she says sounds natural, its always felt she was reading from a script. Even if the script is bad a good actor should be able to at least make it sound good. Now if Patrick Stewart as Picard had made that speech at the end it would have sounded natural and felt less like a sermon. I could almost imagine Burnham reading from the auto cue.

The Burnham Tyler romance, felt nothing, couldn't wait for them to say goodbye and get on with the rest of the story, the whole romance was so contrived.

Finally I have been watching the Orville and agree with all the criticisms on this show on this site. I can't really comment on the comments section because we are a few episodes behind here in the UK. But I think for me personally at the moment I enjoy watching the Orville almost as an antidote to the darkness of Discovery.
Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
I don't think Goergiou is a threat to anyone in this universe unless they try to stop her quest to get back to the MU and become Emperor again.

If anyone can cross over the way the Defiant did and use the added insanity to their advantage it's her. :)

Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
@NK

Please continue to comment. Your thoughts are interesting.

I think what they were going with was that L'Rell was using the war for (to give her the benefit of the doubt) Klingon unification or (to be cynical) just power for her own House. Some kind of situation where war or peace were equally good means to an end and one could be used then traded for the other.

There's also the matter that the war would have had to have been quite hard on the Klingons, too. They should be overextended and have lost quite a lot of ships themselves and any new ruler would need a certain amount of order to build their new central government after so many years of fragmentation. If she needs to fight now it's against overly independent rival Houses.

The show could have easily made it clear that at least a few years peace was in the interest of both sides. This is one of many things where the basic scenario is great and a good story is just sitting there waiting to be written and they don't go all the way with it.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
I just thought of this: By the time Grilka is said to be unable to take leadership of her own House because she's a woman, we should expect that there's a patriarchy at work here where women are not seen as being suitable for a leadership role. Lursa and B'Etor, for example, try to rule through men but cannot do so themselves. It seems to me to create yet another continuity flaw to have a female in command of the Empire this far into the past. You'd think this would set a precedent that would allow other women to have positions of power. But of course there's a million ways to anti-retcon this, such as suggesting "Ah! But because of L'Rell's coup it created an anti-female backlash," etc etc. It just doesn't jive with me.

Speaking of continuity drops, how about that fancy anti-cloaking secret that the Discover crew passed along to Starfleet? You know, the secret that their entire trip to the MU is what they were prevented from delivering, i.e. the single reason the Federation was losing the war? Well after finally delivering that super-important secret 9 months late, and Cornwall (Starfleet's last admiral) saying it would be passed around Starfleet so that maybe now they'd have a chance, it was naturally forgotten and dropped altogether as a concept. Next thing we know Starfleet is utterly beaten and nothing more is spoken of what the anti-cloaking tech achieved, which was apparently nothing. So as I understand it, the whole plot of solving the cloaking secret and getting back from the MU was (to reference KT's correct observation) yet another shaggy dog episode that meant nothing. These writers are like little children, who run all over the place after a toy but upon receiving it see something shiny and drop it as they hurry off to chase something new. Or maybe it's more like a cat and a laser pointer. Either way.
Nolan
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
... huh.
Trent
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Ed said: "But improving or even maintaining what they have has to be a continual process and requires renewed commitment especially during challenges"

Yes, utopia is a unending praxis. In Trek lore, though, the commitment to be a utopia has a locked down timeframe. Here's a nice quote from one of my favourite SF books:

"Must redefine utopia. It isn't the perfect end-product of our wishes, define it so and it deserves the scorn of those who sneer when they hear the word. No. Utopia is the process of making a better world, the name for one path history can take, a dynamic, tumultuous, agonizing process, with no end. Struggle forever." - Kim Stanley Robinson (Pacifc Edge)
ben sisko
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
“So as I understand it, the whole plot of solving the cloaking secret and getting back from the MU was (to reference KT's correct observation) yet another shaggy dog episode that meant nothing”

Lorca used the crew’s desire to beat the Klingon cloak to get back to his universe. Those multi-jumps and scans allowed him to find a viable path to the MU. So, it was a relevant part to his story, as it showed how much he could con the Discovery. By the time Starfleet finally got the cloaking secret, it was too late for it to turn the tide of the war, even if it helped a little. This was addressed last episode.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Let's face it. Once we heard "we don't have the luxury of our principles at a time like this" we know it's not a real utopia. There's a difference between a wealthy people who have all the resources they want, versus a utopian people who would be virtuous with or without their comforts. The Federation isn't supposed to just be a post-scarcity society otherwise similar to ours. The people are supposed to be different, so much so that if you take away their full bellies they'd still be different from us. What he see in this episode is that the Federation of this story is just a wealthy, contented people who eat their fill, but otherwise the same as USA from 2018.
Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

That's a great quote by Robinson. I'm not actually a big fan of the concept of Utopia as it's usually thought of either (in the political or literary realm) but I believe in making the world a better place and I like stories of futures where whatever problems they still have, they've mostly grown beyond the worst of ours.

For example, in Star Trek (any version) there are common human faults that can lead to anything from annoyance to serious problems, but they aren't going to bring back homelessness because the Federation Council decided that people might be getting to lazy with guaranteed housing.

But then if people feel like the Federation itself is about to be destroyed, they might make too many compromises to pragmatism defending it.

Other Robert
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Ed: "The show could have easily made it clear that at least a few years peace was in the interest of both sides. This is one of many things where the basic scenario is great and a good story is just sitting there waiting to be written and they don't go all the way with it."

Yeah, this would have been way better than wasting a bunch of time in MU.

Maybe in an alternate universe, the writers decided:

En route to penal colony, Michael gets rescued from a Klingon attack by Discovery. Saru becomes acting captain after the captain dies during the mission. Saru gets the exact same arc.

Michael gets stuck on DISCO because war. A bunch of people got killed rescuing her so now they need people in engineering, so she has something to do, and she feels double-guilty.

There is no Lorca, meaning we don't have to go to MU at all. We get to spend that time on getting to know the Klingons as real people/culture instead of props standing in circles in the pilot. (Don't get me wrong, Lorca was great but since he was thrown in the garbage why not just delete him altogether?) Through L'Rell's eyes we see the toll of war and feel them coming to the brink of internal collapse. Maybe the Orion Syndicate has been using the Federation/Klingon conflict as a way to take over Klingon Empire, so Clint Howard still gets his green cameo.

Stamets just deteriorates throughout the season, and the mycelial network weakens due to our misunderstanding and misuse of the it. (If this was supposed to be DISCO's environmental allegory, blaming it all on the evil MU was a serious cop out.) Now we can't make more spore ships and magically beat the Klingons with magic. (Though if you still want to make the MU sojourn for the purpose of showing Burnham a glimpse of !Voq then this could have been handled in a single-episode spore drive malfunction.)

Saru's Kelpian fear of predators and general distaste for mutiny predispose him to agree with Starfleet's plan to nuke Kronos, a plan that gets hatched immediately after the midseason break, because the cloak breaking schemes fail in the time-honored "Mr. Worf, fire" fashion. We spend the whole second half working on the bomb. We get to explore Saru's inner demons and see his struggle with fear vs. Starfleet ideals. Maybe we even have time to for EVERYONE on DISCO to weigh in (Lol, jk).

Michael and crew have to convince Saru there's another way. They hatch a plan with L'Rell, who has spent the season not in the brig, but on Kronos where she has witnessed firsthand that the current path is destroying her people too. It would have been actually interesting to see a fundamentalist revise her views over the course of the season based on her actual interactions with humans. Rather than magically changing because she's been in a cage for months.

All zero-sum Michael/Lorca stuff and Michael/!Georgiou stuff is now replaced with Michael/Saru stuff, which was genuinely interesting in the first few eps and had great potential before being reset. (Think of the friendship we got from Bashir/O'Brien S1 conflict.) It still gets to be a redemption arc for her finally at the end of the season earning Saru's trust and forgiveness. She still loses Tyler, but she has gained a friend or two--not unlike the end of Casablanca (though I realize Casablanca is not a TOS episode).

She waits til the end of the last episode to give the telescope to Saru, at which point it would have been genuinely touching and a visual symbol of the ship getting back to its mission of "discovery".

This route would have been more coherent, told the same story, and requires zero twists (though Tyler/Voq could remain unchanged).

Aside: has anyone noticed when review sites with a white background scatter screenshots of this episode throughout the article, you literally can't see what's in the picture because it's all so dark? The light levels in this episode were insanely low.
Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
@Other Robert

I personally think the MU is a lot of fun, but either way they should have worked in more sophisticated look at the Klingon politics making for a better end to the war by just devoting an extra few minutes to it here and there.

The pacing problems are crazy. Long sequences where nothing happens then a large amount of content compressed into a very short period. How many times do we need to hear detailed explanation of the mushroom drive and watch it work?
Franco
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
I have enjoyed this Star Trek extravaganza first season, despite its problems sure. It does seem to me that the producers had a megalomaniac plot worth 26 (or more!) shows which has been brutally forced into those 15 episodes we actually had - just like what happened to Voq who was brutally reduced into poor Ash! I'd rather have had more story and character development and less fancy gimmicks and superfluous SFX. Maybe the producers should have spent the money more wisely and simply made more episodes to tell their story. The finale does seem particularly rushed where it should really matter.

Anyway, seeing the Enterprise it is a hell of a cliffhanger itself.
TBonz
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
On a previous Discovery:

Lorca: You're the most important being in either the P.U. or the M.U. so even though I could have been emperor, I'll die because well, Georgiou is more important to you than me (sniffle!) and I must die.

**music plays**

On the finale:

Georgiou M.U. I guess I won't shoot you because you're Burnham and Burnham is awesome. But later, girl. Worlds to conquer, you know.

L'Rell: God, I hate humans, minus Vok/Ash, but since you're Burnham and you're fucking awesome for a small human, I'll take your bomb and get my bros to call back their ships so Earth and other places aren't destroyed and you get to be the heroine.

Ash: You're too awesome for me so of course I'll take L'Rell as second choice. Don't tell her she's second. She'll kick my beta ass to Rura Penthe!

Cornwell/Starfleet: Even though you threatened to mutiny again, and fucked up by bringing Georgiou M.U. here, you magically ended the war so me and my Starfleet Admirals bros are gonna give you some ego-boo, medals, your rank back, and we'll let you lecture us all on what genocidal fucktards we were.

Sarek: I'm closer to you than my wife (shh, don't tell her about the magic katra across the miles connection bit) and I agree with Cornwell. We were genocidal maniacs and you were absolutely brilliant solving what 90 gazillion other Starfleeters couldn't solve, some I'm a gonna give you a SMILE! Let's go give Spock the bad news that you're my new favorite child!

**Pike sends distress call**

Pike: That'll get the awesome Burnham here. I'm dying to meet the superstar of two universes!

Spock: Oh God. I think I'll take shore leave to Rura Penthe instead.

End.

P.S. Tilly is a moron. She should have been on some Orion ship en route to Orion and the slave market. What a dumbass.

* *
"Garak could have solved this whole season's problems while hemming a dress."

ROFLMAO! No kidding. I can just picture it.

Eric
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
The war storyline should have continued into season 2, and we should have had more of captain Georgiou, with the inevitable confrontation being put off for later. An episode ends with Burnham saying "You're not Georgiou", and stabbing her.

They should have definitely committed some terrorism on Quonos, and on other worlds, just not to the scale that they were describing. Idealism's great and everything, but sometimes it needs to be challenged, and it shouldn't always win.

Also, if you're going to have someone give a corny speech, at least have them face the crowd, for god's sake!

Henson
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
So anybody here think the following exchange would be more likely?

L'Rell: "I have a bomb, and I'm going to blow it up unless you all end the war!"

Klingons: "It is a good day to die."


Or maybe.....

"Cowards take hostages. Klingons do not."
Jake
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
It really feels like what happened was that around the middle of the MU arc, the producers logged on to Jammers forum, saw how unhappy the fans were and said to the writers "right, let's get the ship back home, wrap up the war and end the season with a shot of the Enterprise and some TOS music. The die-hard Trekkies can't be disappointed with that".
Tim
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
@Peter, “The Federation isn't supposed to just be a post-scarcity society otherwise similar to ours. The people are supposed to be different, so much so that if you take away their full bellies they'd still be different from us.”

I’ve never gotten that takeaway, not even from TNG. TNG took away Data’s “full belly” in “The Most Toys,” and he was prepared to kill rather than accept the situation. O’Brien had a backstory as a solider. Picard had character flaws aplenty; the guy was in love with his best friend’s wife! That’s one of the Top Ten.....

What Star Trek does, generally, is show humans in a better place than they are today, but it never felt forced or contrived. This is both. It can’t decide if it wants to be dark and gritty or TNG optimistic, so it swings between the two extremes, with Michael committing murder in the second episode, then attempting the Picard Speech™ in the last.

And not to nerd it to death, but the Federation is defeated, in every sense of the word, winning a Earth-Minbari War reprieve at the 11th hour, but we never hear Kirk, Picard, or anyone else ever discuss this war? Enemy at Earth’s doorstep, countless colonies attacked, a large percentage of the fleet gone, and it’s remembered less than the War of 1812? I can forgive occasional lapses in canon but they’re just making crap up at this point.

Chrome
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, TNG’s officers can be just as flawed as people of today. That was a huge conflict explored through Picard in Star Trek: First Contact.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim,

"I’ve never gotten that takeaway, not even from TNG."

That was Trek's stated reality, it's overtly the future Roddenberry said he was showing. It was never merely implied, it was made clear as its fundamental premise. It's not a technological paradise Roddenberry was showing, but one where people are better than they are now. He wasn't a technologist or interested in post-scarcity economics.

"Picard had character flaws aplenty; the guy was in love with his best friend’s wife! That’s one of the Top Ten....."

Falling in love with someone you shouldn't is a "character flaw"? Man, I wouldn't like you to be my judge, let's just put it that way. How about how Picard dealt with that reality he couldn't help? Such as, keeping distance from her for 7+ years out of respect for his friend and her professional career. But yes, let's just throw him under and call him flawed because he felt something for someone and held himself back anyhow.

@ Chrome,

The fact that a 24th century person *can* have a flaw simply means humans will never be perfect. But that truism has nothing to do with whether they are *the same* as people are now, excepting the technology. And say what you want about outliers such as Harry Mudd, the various series make it pretty crystal clear that on an individual level people hold themselves to a higher standard than we do now. It's by they very standard that deviations are portrayed. The reason Mudd's episodes are funny is because he's so devolved compared to everyone else that it's simply ridiculous to watch him try to get away with banalities.

I don't know why people keep dredging up ST:FC as proof that Picard (and by inference, everyone else on the Enterprise) is just as weak as anyone from today. The fact that he ended up in that state is because of no lesser a reason than having been assimilated by the Borg. The equivalent today would be someone tortured, broken, and kept in a POW camp, only to be returned home and have flashbacks for the rest of their life. And that's supposed to be a 'character flaw'? Come on, man.
Andrew
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
@MiaBN "Garak could have solved this whole season's problems while hemming a dress." Haha, great observation, and literally true, if "In the Pale Moonlight" is any indication.

I liked what they were attempting to do, with Burnham defying orders to uphold Starfleet's principles after previously defying orders to try and start a war. That turnaround made a lot of sense to me, and it was the most Trek-like aspect of the episode. I guess it doesn't bother me that it was so easy to convince Cornwell to change course, since frankly, people lecturing each other about morality is kind of a Hallmark of Star Trek, and we haven't had enough of that on this show.

What does bother me is that the alternative plan they came up with no sense whatsoever. I agree with everyone above about the resolution to the war and L'Rell's role in that doesn't hold water in the slightest once you actually think about. There should have been another episode so we could have actually seen how all this was supposed to work. And to also see the hard work of negotiating a peace (while also building up the tension of the Klingons advancing on Earth). But we got this wacky-doodle ending where we they just hand the keys to their sworn enemy and have her sort it out somehow.

(SPOILERS for Deep Space Nine Below)

As for the genocide moral dilemma aspect, we've been here before. After rewatching DS9 I believe the most controversial episode of Star Trek isn't "In the Pale Moonlight" or "For the Uniform," but rather "When it Rains." There we learn the Federation not only contemplated genocide, but actually took all the steps to carry it out by infecting the Founders with a disease. This was a huge betrayal of the Roddenberry ideal, but the resolution made sense to me. Odo tells the female changeling to link with him so he can give her the cure, not in exchange for her surrender, but without asking for anything. That is true Trek idealism. Odo, a changeling, had a better understanding of Federation ideals than any of the Starfleet characters, including Sisko who just an episode prior had asked Odo not to take matters into his own hands.

I think that is how this season of Discovery should have ended, by taking a page from the Odo playbook, rather than by L'Rell awkwardly just threatening to kill everyone. This episode left me unsatisfied because we saw this exact same scenario work so much better on DS9. That's not to say there isn't a big distinction between threatening the use of genocide and actually doing it, so presenting Burnham as the hero is fine I guess. At least she's not completely morally bankrupt, but that's the most you can say really.

Weird random thoughts:

--What does the interior of the Enterprise look like? I feel like if it looks exactly like TOS it will be laughably out of place on this show, but if it looks more like the interior of the Discovery, everyone will say this show is stepping on nostalgia and get mad. Or will it look like the Abrams reboot Enterprise notwithstanding the fact that CBS doesn't have the movie rights? I feel like there's no good way to do this, only a wrong way.

--Also, someone mentioned it above, but wouldn't it be safer if the Discovery away team all wore green makeup on the away mission? They'd certainly draw a lot less attention that way. I did like the whole Blade Runner feel of the place though.

--Why do all the bad guy characters have to keep talking about eating each other?
Chrome
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
“The fact that he ended up in that state is because of no lesser a reason than having been assimilated by the Borg. The equivalent today would be someone tortured, broken, and kept in a POW camp, only to be returned home and have flashbacks for the rest of their life. And that's supposed to be a 'character flaw'? ”

Sure, but this is the same logic this episode uses to justify Starfleet using genocide. The Federation’s back was to the wall getting hit by one heartless Klingon strike after next, losing millions of lives, until it felt the needed to hit back in kind. Broken people are capable of taking desperate measures, even when it challenges their ideals. That’s something Trek has always wrestled with, it’s nothing new with this show.
Tim
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
@ Peter,

"That was Trek's stated reality, it's overtly the future Roddenberry said he was showing. It was never merely implied, it was made clear as its fundamental premise. It's not a technological paradise Roddenberry was showing, but one where people are better than they are now. He wasn't a technologist or interested in post-scarcity economics."

Again, that's not the message that I got. TOS certainly didn't have that message. My primary takeaway from TOS is that it was written during the Cold War. The message wasn't that humanity has evolved beyond war, but rather that war is futile when one starship can lay waste to an entire planet. There's a level of mutually assured destruction that is referenced throughout the series and occasionally enforced by godlike aliens (e.g., the Metrons) that actually HAVE evolved beyond us imperfect humans.

TNG gave us the "evolved sensibility" pseudo-Transhumanism that's attributed to Gene, but the influence of it is overstated, IMHO, particularly after Season 1. The series begins (and ends!) with humanity itself on trial, for its many failings, failings that even Picard doesn't try to deny. "We are what we are, and we're doing the best we can."

"the various series make it pretty crystal clear that on an individual level people hold themselves to a higher standard than we do now"

The "various series" -- particularly TNG -- are showing us the best of the best. It's stated more times than I can count. Wesley's entire character arc is his struggle to be the best of the best. He's quite literally a prodigy, said to be a Mozart, but even that isn't necessarily good enough to get him into Starfleet. Without Picard's help it's entirely possible that he doesn't make the cut.

Point being, Starfleet is our viewpoint into this world, and it does not represent the median of Federation society, anymore than a squad of Navy Seals represents the median of American society. Starfleet might be the Top 1% of the Federation, with the Enterprise-D being the Top 1% of Starfleet.

That doesn't mean that the rest of humanity all live in West Virginia, far from it, but from what we see they're just normal people, no better or worse than we are today. Some humans (Hagath) are portrayed as quite scummy, on a level with the worst criminals of the past. Others have normal human stubbornness (Sisko's Dad) or are portrayed as jealous bullies (Picard's brother). Some (the Maquis) take up arms against the Federation. Others (Mudd) want nothing to do with the Federation and seek to chart their own course.

The Orville explained it all better than Star Trek:

Kelly: Lieutenant, have you ever studied the history of money?
John: Not really. I know people used to use it to buy houses, and sandwiches, and stuff.
Kelly: Exactly. It became obsolete with the invention of matter synthesis. The predominant currency became reputation.
John: Yeah, so?
Kelly: My point is, human ambition didn't vanish. The only thing that changed was how we quantify wealth.
Brian
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:55am (UTC -5)
Well, I've spent hours writing up reviews for this season the past couple months. This time, I'm just done. The writing sucks plain and simple. This is like watching a middle-school orchestra try to play a rachmaninoff concerto. Last time I checked middle school concerts were free. I would never pay a single dime to these people, probably one of the worst shows I've ever seen. The writing did not improve a single bit. Not even a glimmer of hope. The finale was trite, conveniently and simply ended in the most lazy possible way, and then we get a cliffhanger to desperately try to reel people back in for round 2. Not a chance in hell I will be paying anything for this junk. Oh I'll watch out of morbid curiosity and if it gets good, then great I'll come back on board. But this? This was just an epic failure and I place the blame squarely on poor production, show running, and writing. The season is a mess and the ending swept it all under the rug.
Ouch.
Paulus Marius
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:01am (UTC -5)
@jrpl: The streaming service you're looking for in Canada is Crave TV - that's how I've watched Discovery. The good news for you: you can sign up for a free 1-month trial and watch the whole thing so you can see what all the kvetching here on the Jam Jam has been about. In case you're interested in my opinion, it's worth the ride, despite a final episode that I found disappointing. (I've been a supporter of the show on here, although I acknowledge it has flaaaaws aplenty.)
JohnTY
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:21am (UTC -5)
And there it is. Easily the worst episode of the season, eclipsing What’s Past is Prologue. Everyone has pretty much already nailed the negatives. Especially Hank.

I guess the show kept me watching.. Though that’s probably more to do with me wanting to see what they would do with Trek rather than due to any merit contained in the episodes..

Let me see.. I liked Saru and Stammets most of the time. Tilly had her moments. Lorca was pretty cool too until they utterly destroyed his character (maybe not quite literally).

Those are the only positives I can think of off-hand.

The uniforms seem well made.

sigh
Todd
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 2:05am (UTC -5)
I want to see the Emperor Georgiou spin off series...I see her opening a Kelpian restaurant in New Orleans whose motto is "SERVING THE FINEST KELPIAN CUISINE IN THE SECTOR". Then, when we find out she's the reason the Kelpians went extinct, she's arrested and as she's dragged away, she yells out...BRING ME SARU, I'LL MAKE DINNER FOR YOU.
Markus
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:25am (UTC -5)
The lovely refit Enterprise was okay, though I found it completely unnecessary and arbitrary. In a way it was the highlight of this episode - relatively at least, which means that in my opinion the whole was an unwatchable mess. The graphics were okay and quite cinematic at times. But all the rest? Awful, a shame. Especially Burnham's speech was so strangely conveyed, that I felt embarrassed, sounded much worse than the worst Hillary Clinton speech.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:39am (UTC -5)
Most people expected this series to be horrific and bomb hard I think a lot of people have been proved wrong.
It's not perfect and certainly shows a slightly disjointed first season. A clunky finale but not the absolute shit show half the commentators on here are saying. IMO anyway.
Very confident that season 2 will be better with steadier hands running the ship and that they'll be focused on taking it in Trekkier directions.

Just give us more Tilly... She is amazing.
Markus
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:40am (UTC -5)
@Dom:

"I never thought a new Trek show would air and wish it hadn't."

Wow... That is exactly what I feel. It is a shame that people unfamiliar with Star Trek before watch this (and/or the new movies) and could think this is Star Trek's usual quality. Either because they think it is such a crap like this, or because they think it is great/better than the stuff before.

I notice myself becoming nostalgic about Enterprise (if you can be nostalgic about sth 10 years old).
KT
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:31am (UTC -5)
@Other Robert
Your alternative DSC s1 story outline is so much better than the incoherent mess we just witnessed over the last few months.
pandapirate
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:31am (UTC -5)
I believe that I figured out why the last 15 mins or so of this episode is so different from the rest of the show. Michael was killed by the Emperor when Michael's Main Character Shields failed. Michael was then shown a delusion by an alien that is similar to the alien from VOY Coda. Instead of a eulogy, Michael's delusion is that she is the hero of her favorite space opera. She is told that she is smarter, stronger and more moral than everyone in this and every other universe. She comes up with an illogical way to end the conflict that somehow works perfectly. Her boss and her estranged father all apologies for not seeing how awesome Michael is in her awesomeness. She gets to make a speech while all her new friends get medals. The cherry on top is that she gets to respond to a distress call from her favorite show's heroes. But this fan fiction exist only in Michael's head.

In this universe's reality, the Klingon home world is destroyed, the Klingons destroy Earth, the Federation crumbles, the divided Klingons eventually turn on themselves. This tragedy does have a silver lining. This all out war serves as a lesson to young rising powers. Cardassians and Romulins do not fear a military strong Federation and Klingon neighbor. They see this conflict as something to avoid in the future. Instead of repressed police states, secret police, and the ever demanding war machine we get early attempts at democracy, tolerance, diplomacy and peaceful co existence. Different worlds that are coming to similar ideas meet and eventually form tight bonds. More inspiring they to get a point where they go out on missions of peacefully exploration. They do face adversity along the way- Q, Borg, Dominion, cancellation- but hope remains eternal for a better future.

bring on Season 2
Dom
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:21am (UTC -5)
@Markus, that's something the "I'll take any Star Trek" crowd doesn't get. A bad Trek show or movie can hurt the franchise's brand. Remember the 2001 Planet of the Apes? It almost put that franchise on hold. How many people watching Trek for the first time through Discovery are really going to get into the more cerebral - and admittedly cornier - TNG and DS9?

I'm not nostalgic for Enterprise and still consider it a very flawed show, but I can at least forgive Berman and Braga because of the constraints they were under. The Studio was trying to shove a bunch of terrible ideas onto the show, like having a boy band. Berman and Braga's initial plans were much more interesting (they wanted the show to start off on Earth and only introduce the ship later in the first season), and it's a shame they couldn't pull it off. Same for TNG's first season - it's hardly great, but after having seen the "Chaos on the Bridge" documentary I at least understand why it's bad.

Maybe in 20 years we'll find out that CBS was also dictating to the Discovery writer's room and that the problems this first season were all the result of some behind the scenes chaos. However, from how the writers have talked about the show on After Trek and on Twitter, it seems like this IS the show they wanted to write. THAT worries me.
Dom
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:31am (UTC -5)
@Andrew, "This episode left me unsatisfied because we saw this exact same scenario work so much better on DS9."

If I were writing weekly reviews for Discovery, that's pretty much how I would end every single review. We've seen war stories, romances, the Mirror Universe, rogue Starfleet officers, etc done so much better.

For me, "Pale Moonlight" works in a way Discovery's Klingon War doesn't because in DS9 we actually feel invested in the war. We'd had years before "Pale Moonlight" to get to know the Dominion, so see their ruthlessness, to see the toll that the war takes on our main characters. DS9 showed - not just told - viewers that the Dominion was an existential threat. By the time DS9 got to "Pale Moonlight" and Sisko learns about the nonaggression pact with the Romulans, it feels like the stakes escalated naturally.

In Discovery, we get some occasional exposition designed to rapidly escalating the stakes, but the show never puts in the work to escalate the stakes. Having a literal time jump of 9 months just so Discovery can change the status quo in the war offscreen is extremely lazy. Did anyone watching really FEEL like Earth was threatened in this last episode? Did the Klingons ever FEEL like an overpowering threat that required Starfleet to take such drastic actions? I felt like the war ended before I even had a chance to care about it.
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -5)
So, I'm not even an amateur creative writer, but here is my plot synopsis of how the last episode should have gone - presuming all the schlock before it still happened:

MU Georgiou is sent along on her mission to blow up Qo'noS. The device isn't a ridiculous "hydro bomb" however. Let's keep the technobabble somewhat feasible, and say it's a dark energy weapon. When it goes off, it accelerates the cosmological constant in a localized area of space - essentially canceling the force of gravity and ripping the target planet apart.

The first half of the episode could go largely as it was shown originally, although hopefully with a little bit less hamminess by MU Georgiou. When Burnham finally goes down to the well/shrine thingy to confront MU Georgiou, she finds that she isn't willing to go along with the plan to turn over the bomb. Hand-to-hand combat ensues, and Burnham is ultimately forced to kill MU Georgiou. However, the bomb was not only keyed to her DNA, but her heartbeat, and the triggering mechanism goes off, albeit with enough time for Burnham to escape safely.

After we return to the Discovery, we get to see the destruction of Qo'noS in all its terrible glory. Word quickly comes in from Starfleet that the effort was a failure - the Klingon fleet decided that rather then return home and try and spacelift survivors, they were going to seek their vengeance on the Federation. Earth is bombarded from orbit, and billions die. Assaults on Andor, Vulcan, and Tellar begin. All hope appears to be lost.

Burnham says some line about their being no second chances in life. Stamets interjects that maybe there are some. Since the spore drive allowed them to travel forward in time, it should also allow them to travel back in time as well. The crew begins to hatch a plan, along with L'Rell, about how to undo the war, which has destroyed both the Federation and the homeworld of the Klingon Empire.

Discovery jumps back to just prior to the Battle of the Binary Stars. L'Rell has the shield/cloak frequencies of the Ship of the Dead. Burnham, Ash, and L'Rell use them to board T'Kumva's ship. L'Rell (and Ash) explain the outcome of the Klingon War - that T'Kumva's dream of a unified Klingon empire will die, Qo'noS will be a lifeless shell, and the houses will continue their petty squabbles. This convinces T'Kumva to reconsider - to try to unite Klingons from within, rather then through a show of force against the Federation.

However, not all of the Klingon houses are onboard with this idea. One faction - lead by Kol - still thinks they should attack the Federation fleet. A short-lived "civil war" breaks out among the Klingon houses, with Kol's forces destroying the Shenzou and all those aboard perishing. The battle also results in the "downtime" version of Voq dying - with Ash at his side, getting to see "himself" perish.

Ultimately though, T'Kumva and his allies succeed. As they were victorious in battle, T'Kumva is named the new chancellor of the Klingon Empire, and declares there will be a detente with the Federation...for now. Burnham gets to "save the day" but still feels bummed because she blew her chance to save "her" Georgiou. Stamets is thrilled to be in a world where Culber is still alive, but also feels weird, because he knows that Culber in this world still has his own Stamets. After the debriefing, PU Lorca walks up to Burnham, and says he hopes that in the future, she won't judge the things his counterpart did against him.

In my mind, this hits all of the proper themes"for a Trek episode. War is shown to be a mistake for all parties involved - senseless violence that solves nothing. Burnham retains memories of what happened, and still suffers consequences (Georgiou is still dead). There are several "doubles" of Discovery crew members now running about which can be followed up with in the second season (seeing Tilly 1 and Tilly 2 hanging out alone would be a thrill).

Thoughts?
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:10am (UTC -5)
@ Karl Zimmerman,

I like where that's going but let's go further. The Discovery goes back in time to a 2017 writer's room and arms the phaser banks...
Jrpl
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Paulus Marius: I didn't know that. Thanks for the heads up. I just assumed that service would require a traditional cable subscription in addition to signing up for Crave. It appears that isn't the case. I'll check it out.
Adonis
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Wow. I have lurked on this board for years and years and it's hard to believe anyone here is actually a fan of the franchise. I think people here would prefer that Star Trek be preserved in amber and eventually vanish rather than be reinvented for a new generation of viewers.

I know this has been a knock on Trek fans for a long time--that they want everything to be as it was in 1967 or 1995 or 2004, but it comes through loud and clear here, especially with regard to Sonequa Martin-Green, who has more of a dramatic arc than any Trek character in history with the possible exception of Kirk (who needed the movies for it) and Picard. I read a lot of complaints about her acting as if Frakes and Spiner were thespians of the highest order. She's terrific. There have rarely been emotional stakes in a Star Trek series and this series, more than most of the others, is trying to map the internal lives of its characters in a way the franchise has rarely attempted.

I am old enough to remember when we were desperate for new Star Trek, a new series, or anything. Then saw how fans took apart TNG, then DS9, then VOY, then ENT, until there was nothing. Berman, Braga, etc were pilloried like the writing staff is now. Apparently only the reanimated corpse of Gene Coon will be acceptable.

Then the JJ Abrams movies came along--almost like a miracle--millions of dollars on the screen and first-rate cast--and the fans took them down, too. Now a new Star Trek series in 2018--it's almost an absurd thought--and the boards are full of people complaining that the Enterprise doesn't look like it did in 1964. Reboots happen. Batman, Sherlock, Shakespeare, James Bond. They all modernize, adapt, change with the times. Why can't Trek? That's how it stays alive. But it's clear from this board and others than many fans came in determined to hate the show from the beginning, for whatever reason. It's poisonous.

That doesn't mean that there aren't some valid criticisms of the first season, particularly with regard to the plotting and Lorca's character development. They did miss an opportunity with him. At the same time, if the entire point of the first season was to ultimately reaffirm Starfleet ideals in the wake of temptation, well then you need a Satan or two, and Lorca was certainly that.

I think this is best core cast since TNG--Burnham, Tilly, Tyler, Stamets, and Saru are all likable, complex, relatable characters (and not a Troi, Sato, Mayweather or Kim in sight). The series is beautifully shot and presented and the producers obviously care deeply about the product and its fans.

The job of the network is to maximize fan interest, the same as it was in 1966 and 1987. That's why the franchise still exists--to reach new people. I would ask what it is that hardcore fans want? If there are easter eggs and callbacks, it's dismissed as fan service. If there's nothing, they scream "where's the universe we built?" As for serialization, thank God for it. If you want a series of standalone stories about exploration and phenomena, I invite you to rewatch the second season of Enterprise, if you can. That almost put the franchise down for good. It's been done, done, done. Say what you want about the first season of DSC, it was rarely boring.

With regard to the finale, yes, it was not perfect, by any means. I could have done without the all the Orion hijinks, but I would also submit that it was absolutely an attempt to replicate the sleaziness that was often present in TOS, as far back as "The Cage" and episodes such as "Wolf in the Fold." It was the frontier, after all. This was a bordertown, so to speak. My personal favorite Star Trek is the first half of Season 1, when it felt very raw and unpolished, and I much prefer that world to the sanitized TNG universe.

As for the resolution of the war, I can't help but think if it had been James Kirk using leverage to force Klingons to come to the table, everyone would have been fine with it. He did, in fact, this very thing in (of all episodes) "Mirror, Mirror"-- handing a doomsday weapon to an adversary in order to bring an empire down. See also "A Taste of Armageddon" in which he resolves a centuries-old war with the bluff of lethal force. There are deep precedents for this--and DSC is the closest kin to TOS that has come yet. I mean, what did everyone want, 20 minutes of negotiations between the Federation and the Klingon empire? Episodic TV, particularly in the adventure format, moves quickly.

I hope DSC slows down next season, finds its legs, tells some standalone stories, and lets us relax with the crew a bit. But we should be grateful that this thing exists. When it goes, who knows if anything will replace it, and true fans should not let perfect be the enemy of the good.






MiaBN
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:19am (UTC -5)
I remember in one of the Peter David novels, Worf tells Troi, "Klingons do not eat babies." He goes on to say that it is a rather underhanded/racist thing that some people still think about his people. Um...now I am thinking that there might be some truth to it, at least according to DSC.

No, DSC is merely an alternate reality, a la Kelvin-verse, to me. There's just no way to align it with the Prime timeline.

Re: Pike's Enterprise, five bucks says S2 opens with the Enterprise cruising away and someone saying, "Wow, I can't believe we got to meet Captain Pike!" And Tilly says to Michael, "You mean you didn't even talk to your stepbrother the whole time he was here?" The audience never even sees him.
philadlj
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:29am (UTC -5)
My main problem with how L'Rell manages to convince the Klingon fleet (though we only see a small handful of ships) to return home is how much trust they put in her claim that she has a weapon that will destroy their homeworld. Why do they decide, as a SINGLE entity, to just go along with that claim from hundreds of light years away? I just wasn't convinced L'Rell had enough "on the ground" (or rather "in space") leverage. Also, for months we've had 24 houses trying to out-kill one another, and this vague threat from Qo'noS just happens to unite them in retreat? Not ONE house said "this is BS, let's do this (i.e. attack Earth)." Just very hard to swallow.

I was also very irritated by the VERY LOUD and mechanical delivery of Burnham's voiceover early in the episode. There was a slight "aha" when we learned that was actually a speech being delivered at UFP HQ, but it just didn't work early on, and was yet another example of Discovery's need to "tell, not show" that not only insults the audience's intelligence but doesn't feel like anything other than narrative laziness. I realize some of Kirk's logs sometimes got a bit philosophical (his Lights of Zetar log about Scotty probably takes the cake) but there was simply too much Burnham voiceover this season.

Everything about that stolid scene in UFP HQ is extremely awkwardly staged, and the actual content of Burnham's speech, from the patronizing fable to the apparent lack of consequences on the part of every UFP/Starfleet official who sanctioned genoicde, just felt flat and unsatisfying. That being said, the ends DO justify the means if the ends put Discovery back on a course of exploration and away from war, political intrigue, MU camp and hidden identities. Perhaps the appearance of the Enterprise serves as a herald to a more conventional exploratory narrative next season. Disco's first season took a lot of risks, and not all of them paid off, but overall I came away happy, despite the qualms above.

Ubik
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:29am (UTC -5)
@Adonis

Excellent post! Thank you.
Dom
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:34am (UTC -5)
@Adonis, Burnham has the most dramatic arc of any Trek character? You've obviously never seen DS9. Sisko, Odo, heck even Damar have more compelling character arcs.

"But it's clear from this board and others than many fans came in determined to hate the show from the beginning, for whatever reason. It's poisonous."

What a mean-spirited comment. It's sad when fans lash out against other fans because they disagree about the quality of a show. Why would you assume some fans are just "determined to hate" a show? Don't you think we'd all love to love a new Trek show? We'd love to feel the way we felt when we first watched DS9 or TNG (or TOS for those old enough). I was actually excited for the show after I heard an interview with the writers. What I refuse to do is give the show a pass just because it has the Star Trek name. The attitude of some fans defending anything and everything Star Trek comes across as brand loyalty more than anything else.

There are plenty of other shows on TV nowadays. If new Star Trek isn't good, then maybe there's nothing wrong with letting Trek stay in amber. Back in the 90s, we didn't have many other options in terms of quality sci-fi TV. Now we do. I for one recommend Altered Carbon and The Expanse (not perfect, but interesting).
Mertov
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Adonis, great post. I think you are old enough like me to remember all that. It boils down to (you explained it a lot more eloquently in your post) the distinction that hard-core fans are unable to make, which is expectations vs gatekeeping. Unfortunately, some hard-core fans fall into the latter category, and anything outside of what their perception of "Trek" is rejected severely. I am weary of gatekeeping, (small example: that the retro Kirk version of the Enterprise is the only permissible version to be shown, or else [anger expressed]...). Each series should create its own path, which Discovery is also doing in my opinion. To expect it to be like Kirk's Enterprise, or Picard's Enterprise (which was also gatekept by some hard-core fans of TOS), or Sisko's Deep Space Nine (which was also gatekept by TOS and TNG fans), or Janeway's Voyager (gatekept by all the previous), is simply not realistic.
Trek should evolve just like any other decades-long series have. For example, it has existed now longer without Roddenberry at the helm than with him. It's absurd to expect it to still strictly adhere to his framework. One's "set of expectations" on what Trek is comes across in their opinions, but the bottomline is what that "set" is changes according to everyone. That is why Trekkies will never universally agree on anything. Someone commented somewhere that Trekkies hate every new show until they don't. They might have a point there (not in the literal sense, but in the implication).
Nievesg
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:40am (UTC -5)
@blazzano
I love what you wrote!
I also wished some scene of this kind, to show believably why L'Rell could be trusted to accept the deal and end the war, instead of doing it off-screen (as it's such an important plot twist).

On the other hand, I love action episodes and I would have enjoyed more fights and less nightclub / street market. I also found last episode's "instant-terraforming" lame.
Other weak points of the season: secondary character developement, at least the ones on yhe bridge (even ENT s1 gave them more time to each one).
I wish we had more time of Detmer and other bridge mute staff's , and please specially of mirror versions of Sarek/Voq/Saru.

Not a masterpiece, due to this.
But anyway I quite enjoyed Discovery (although I prefer TNG and even ENT s4).


Good points in my (of course arguable) opinion:

I love action.
Awesome CGI
I'm now almost ok with the mycellial network, as I compare it to Ygdrassil, the etgereal "tree" which interconnects Asgard/Midgaard/etc. somehow).

Along the season, I loved Tilly, Saru (I want hom as Captain), and Stammets: he really rocks on the Mudd episode.
I even loved Lorca (he was 3-dimensional and interesting enough, until chapter 10. A pity his 2-dimensional and rushed end).

I don't usually like Shazad Latif as a plain good guy (handsome, but please why always keeping his mouth open????). But when he awoke as Voq he was great, and also at the finale as an empathic human-klingon hybrid. He's a good symbol for the show: understanding the enemy as a way for peace.

2.5 stars to the finale / 3 to the season from me
Nievesg
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:44am (UTC -5)
P.s.: sorry, writing from my mobile... please excuse my typos!
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:47am (UTC -5)
Another thought regarding the comparison to DS9: The Dominion is not comparable to the Klingons. The Klingon/Federation war is what a war between Russia and the USA would be: Two sides with different ideologies but roughly comparable capabilities. The Dominion were the "Borg light": Genetically engineered super soldiers, vastly superiour resources, no moral considerations whatsoever or even a concept of "Honor" that can be exploited. The Dominion made it quite clear that it will stop at nothing: The first attack on a Galaxy Class ship is a suicide run, and a needless one at that, as nothing really was at stake for the Dominion. The Federation knows quite well that the Dominion will commit genocide, as they have done it in the past, and show no indication that they will stop: They even turn their weapons on Cardassia as a punishment. Knowing all that, it took several seasons for the Federation to come up with the morphogenic virus - and it is quite conceivable that it was just meant to prohibit the founders from changing form, not outright killing them. Wheter Section 31 or Starfleet command decided that genocide was acceptible, is never made clear. The Federation also took active steps to "genocide" the Borg, if such a term is even applicable here, simply because there was no other option (I am going to ignore Voyagers take on the Borg here, as they were neutered beyond belief).

So, the setup is quite different. The Klingons are not a hivemind that can't be reasoned with, and neither are they so different from the Federation that they consider all "solids" unworthy of life. The mistake the writers made was writing themselves into a corner: The Klingons achieving a perfect, flawless victory. They should just have looked at WW2: USA vs. Japan. Japan dominated the early war, but gradually, the US industrial might took over. The same should have happened here: The Federation can use the resources and skills of several races, the Klingons are so focused on War and Honor that they just fall behind (like the Japanese). Then it is easy to put through the message: "Diversity is strength".

Instead they give us a curb-stomp battle that can only be won by a Deus Ex Machina. I mean, we knew that the Klingons would lose, or at least be fought to a stalemate. There are enough historical examples (Flanders, anyone?) that could have been used. Germany collapsed at the end of the war, simply because the population revolted. There were no enemy troups on german ground at the time of the armistice. That would have worked great for the Klingons: They win the war, but internal strife takes over, and the smaller houses gang up on the leading house (which is also leading the war) and in an effort to fight them off, the leading house makes a bitter peace with the Federation (maybe even in exchange for aid), as they can not win against the other houses and the Federation. That would fuel Klingon revanchism for the next 100 years, surely. But alas, Micheal just solves everything by being so awesome, as TBonz pointed out so clearly.
Tasher
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 11:33am (UTC -5)
@Adonis

Thank you for articulating my feelings
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 11:50am (UTC -5)
@Adonis: The use of force is not the main problem, as I tried to make very clear in my earlier rant. The problem is that the resolution made NO sense. None at all.

I really wanted the show to succeed, and as I repeated numerous times, for the first fiteen minutes I was really hopeful. I even came to terms with the Klingon look; yeah, I get it, you want to generate viewers with visual spectacle, and lets be serious, TOS is completely laughable nowadays. I still didn't understand why they had to look different, but ok, whatever. Then all the stuff happens. Magic Mushrooms. Mary Sue. Pointless plot "twists" that were totally obvious and serve no deeper idea, just shallow drama. Add to that gratitious violence and gore, nonsensical ship designs (even Warhammer 40k looks more realistic, and they TRY to be super edgy), and so forth ... yeah, gatekeeping is NOT the main problem here. I was a fan of Enterprise right from the point when it first aired, even though I had seen all other series previously. I can live with strange storytelling decisions or violence or trashyness. My favourite movies include 2001: A Space Odyssey and Genocyber - a completely trashy 90s anime that is generally completely lambasted for just being torture porn, yet I still managed to see the underlying story that the author wanted to tell, but was just unable to, the concept burried under many layers of gore. And you know why? Because the girl that is the protagonist is likeable and relateable - and she is mute and mentally on the level of a small child, and yet, there is more emotion in a drawn, mute character than ever was in Burnham. I like Event Horizon, another "Bad Movie" on my list of alltime favourites. I liked Game of Thrones - because it made me care about the characters (well, until about season 6 or so, where there were no characters left and it just deteriorated into a soft porn with violence). I am telling you that to make clear that I have seen and liked many different movies and TV-series of all kinds of tone and production quality, I am open minded. I liked Stargate: Universe (which was hated for many of the same reasons that DSC is hated: Overly dark and dramatic), because it made me warm up to it to the point where I put the comparison to Atlantis and SG1 aside. DSC does not manage that, because it simply is a badly written show.

Just take a look at the Orville: It fares much better when compared to Star Trek, even though there are many valid criticisms against that show: Humor, plagiarism, outmoded ideas, the list goes on. But it also shows that it IS possible to do a TNG-like series without being totally unoriginal. Discovery tries to be a mix of BSG, Game of Thrones and Walking Dead: Drama above all else, violence, sex. The visuals tell a clear story. Heck, one of the first actions of our main character is a mutiny, followed by mining corpses ... way to turn up the grim-dark up to eleven in a series that is known for being light and aspirational. And it is not only the action, but the portrayal, the visual style that completely goes against previous Trek. If you want to call that gatekeeping, fine, I admit, I don't want Star Trek to be mostly torture porn and drama WITHOUT any compelling characters or story. If they had characters and story - yeah, sure, I do love me some good old ultraviolence. Clockwork Orange is one of my favourite movies, after all. But I can not stand shallowness and idiocy, and DSC is just a big "Micheal Burnham is so awesome" wank with a pointless, unbelievable story. Not a hard to understand, complex and mysterious story like Neon Genesis Evangelion, for example, a series that is also very divisive, a BAD story. Not a badly executed story with flickers of genius, like Genocyber (and it is REALLY REALLY bad on every level, seriously), no, a perfectly executed bad story. It works exactly like it was planned. But it is just drivel. If it was a standalone series, it would still be bad. The comparison to Trek just makes it even more obvious.

Take a very simple scene, as an example, a very small detail, that shows you exactly what is important in this show: When they first discover the Klingon satellite, they can not get a visual, because the visuals are blurred... So they look through an analog telescope, and can see it clearly. Can you see the idiocy? The "Optical scanner" (which is just a fancy name to say "telescope with an attached digital camera") can not see the object clearly because a field distorts the photons coming from that object, but an old telescope, which recieves exactly the same distorted photons, can see it clearly? This is a very minor and unimportant example, that is dwarfed by many other, bigger examples (and really, I would have just overlooked it normally as cheesy), where the show thinks its viewers are idiots. The ultimate example of that trend is the final solution to the klingon war: They just give up because Burnham is awesome. The show treats everybody, its cast, its viewers, like an idiot, and expects me to cheer them on for it. No, I will not do that. That has nothing to do with "But muh Klingon redesign" or "But Starfleet wouldn't do that!". NOBODY who is sane would do something like that. Nobody. None of the characters involved, would ever do that. And if they did, it would backfire spectacularly.

DSC does the same that the JJ Movies and new Star Wars does: It thinks everybody is an idiot, and that nothing is important. "The First orders build a super-mega-death-star-clone" How? NOT IMPORTANT! Look at our fancy visuals. "Hello, Max von Sydow, you are the only one who knows where the map is that leads to Luke Skywalker. So, instead of torturing some villagers to make you spill the beans - I will just kill you because I am an Idiot! Oh, I will later reveal that I can mindread, btw." Wow, what a great story. You can take any Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick from the eighties, and the story will make MORE sense than either NuTrek or NuWars. To enjoy it, you have to not think about it, or you have to come up with some headcanon that tries to retcon everything. This is far beyond any initial "New = Bad" reaction that you may have (and I admit, I am pretty prone to having those at first). This is a complete failure of story telling at the most basic level. If your story breaks apart the first time you poke it with a question, it is a bad story. And if a bad story is filled with unrealistic, unlikeable cardbord characters - it is an utter desaster, and voilla, you have Discovery.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
Now get out of here, before he says something unkind.

(jk)
Trent
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Adonis said: "Then the JJ Abrams movies came along--almost like a miracle--millions of dollars on the screen and first-rate cast--and the fans took them down, too. I think people here would prefer that Star Trek be preserved in amber and eventually vanish rather than be reinvented for a new generation of viewers. "

The JJ movies were dumb, poorly written, and generic. Everyone should tear them down. That more don't, is largely because people have been conditioned to become passive consumers, art reduced to mass-mediated, disposable decor.

It's obvious that Trek, especially since Enterprise, has been getting dumber, more conventional, and less in touch with contemporary science fiction literature. Since 9/11, it's ideas of "depth" and political and/or social commentary have also been largely stupid. It's also been unable to attract actual auteurs; writers with personal and idiocyncratic points of view, and who have a strong drive to make original art. It's not a coincidence that one of the best episodes on a poor series like Enterprise, is from a bilingual dude from France. Artists are a product of culture, and a monoculture raised on TV and with no exposure to the world or other arts, is only going to repeatedly echo itself (and rely upon escalations of dopamine inducing shocks to generate affect- something an actual science fiction auteur like David Cronenberg predicted would happen with films like Videodrome and Crash).

Mertov said: "Trek should evolve just like any other decades-long series have."

The TNG movies, Enterprise and JJ Trek don't represent the evolution of a franchise, but a devolution. It's a very cynical view of art: the idea that popular and so profitable things need to be continually "updated", made "relevant" and "appealing to all denominations" for maximum market penetration, whilst simulatneously being stagnant, backward looking and familiar enough to stoke both nostalgia and those fearful of rule breaking; art reduced to conveyer belts and corporate product roll outs, its writers anonymously hired to tick boxes and meet quotas rather than because they have something personal and original they wish to say.

I also find it hilarious that Disco is deemed "new" and "a franchise shake up". Everyone go and re-watch the last season of Enterprise. It's one serialized mini arc after the next, all about war and torture and cartoon villans and terrorists looking to ethnocleanse Earth, be they Vulcan terrorists, or Augments, or Terra Prime isolationists, or Syrrannite terrorrists, or Temporal terrorists or even Nazis. Then in the middle of all this junk you have one decent episode written by an actual novelist.
BZ
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
@Adonis,
I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm not any sort of gatekeeper. I was a casual watcher of TNG, but became a hardcore fan during Season 3 of Voyager. Despite this, I consider TNG and DS9 my favorite. I enjoyed just about every series and movie to some extent, Including the J.J. Abrams reboot.

So in light of that, my thoughts on Discovery:
- We are explicitly told this is not a reboot. This is meant to be a real prequel to TOS. Now unlike some, I don't mind a technological refresh, like what ENT has done, where the ship sets, aliens, etc were changed enough to look futuristic, but still evoke a prequel aesthetic. What was done in DSC goes beyond that. My biggest complaint is holographic communications and Klingon redesign. These things aren't done because TOS-style communications and ENT-style Klingon makeup look dated - they don't. It was done for no apparent reason whatsoever. Notice that I haven't mentioned the spore drive either. It's a plot device like any other, and can be used for good or ill.
- Even all of the above is on a level of a minor gripe to me if a compelling story is being told. Notice, too, that I'm not complaining about a betrayal of Gene Roddenberry's ideals. If the crew's actions are justified by the story, I'm all on board with it.
- But this episode, being the finale of a serialized season, makes no sense from beginning to end. I'm not talking about canon or tech. I'm talking about on its own terms.
- Why do we need emperor Georgiou to come up with the plan? Nothing she contributes can't be obtained elsewhere. The map of the caves is a dated black market map. The insight that Klingons will never give up can be provided by L'Rell or Voq/Tyler. The bomb is not some MU contraption.
- How can they trust Georgiou for a moment as captain?
- How can they trust L'Rell for a moment? If the threat of genocide (as opposed to actual genocide) will end the war, the feds can deliver it directly
- Michael's supposed character ark is just not there. She is consistent in her inconsistencies if that makes sense. One minute she's a Vulcan. The next she's an emotional basket case. One minute she's onboard with Lorca's actions. The next she's a defender of Starfleet's ideals. It just makes no sense. Tilly has an arc. Voq/Tyler has an arc. Stamets and Saru... well, a little. Michael? No, not at all.

I'll continue to watch, but it's telling that one of my favorite episodes this season is the Mudd time loop one.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
"But it's clear from this board and others than many fans came in determined to hate the show from the beginning, for whatever reason."

Adonis, I appreciate your thoughtful post, yet I do want to say that there are many of us here who like the show and we're probably more vocal during the better episodes. Indeed, Jammer's reviews have been generally positive with the lowest score so far being a 2.5. I thought the MU arc was great, probably the best earnest attempt Trek has done with the concept since "Mirror, Mirror". Like you say, there are some great characters among this cast regulars - Burnham, Saru, Stamets, Tilly and even irregulars like Lorca, Tyler, and Georgiou have their moments.

There's also a lot of messy writing going on this season, and I think "Will You Take My Hand?" is probably the best example of good ideas with fumbling execution. However - I'm not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water. We fans should be clear about the parts we like about this show so that the writers next season will take that to heart and apply it to forthcoming episodes. I want to see more of the crew working together with smart pacing like "Into the Forest I Go" or even "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad". I also want to see more slow episodes with characterization is the focus. And I'd like to see the writers really come together and be on the same page so we aren't getting episodes that feel "good except the last 10 minutes where everything went bonkers".

I think there's a path forward, and I put the writing staff to task to really examine what worked this season and to run with that.
Artymiss
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
@ Hank

Thanks for your thoughts on Georgiou's legal rights. You have helped bring clarity to my confusion!

It seems she has just been allowed to 'disappear into the night' - aside from the moral aspect this doesn't make any tactical sense from the Federation's point of view. She could get up to anything. Presumably (I would hope!) the Federation plan to keep close tabs on her but we needed a scene to make that clear. I found the use of Georgiou in this episode really irritating, she remains a crude cartoon character. She's supposed to be some kind of military and tactical genius isn't she so I wish we had seen a much more subtle pattern of behaviour from her developing over several episodes. Oh well...

I've gone off this final episode the more I've thought about it - it really needed several episodes to illustrate WHY the Federation had become so desperate and so morally lost it is basically prepared to commit mass genocide at the helm of an unhinged dictator from another universe.

I had to google Mary Sue - we would say Miss Goody Two Shoes in the UK I think. I actually find Burnham quite a flawed character, not very likeable but interesting. I expect I probably enjoy the girl power aspect of it too eg a lone Burnham triumphing in a fight with that Klingon captain whilst recognising that a more realistic outcome would see him eating her heart like he did prime Georgiou's.
Artymiss
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
I have faith that someone on here will have the answer to this!

This Enterprise that's appeared with Captain Pike at the helm -- what other members from the orginal series should be on board at this time and what positions will they hold? Just where are we in the Star Trek timeline now? I am confused!

Thanks.
Todd
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
@Artymiss Based on the TV episode THE CAGE, produced way back in 1964, the only TOS crewmember on the USS Enterprise would be Spock. He wouldn't be a first officer, that would be the female crew member called "Number One" played by Majel Barrett.

As to where they are in the timeline, it's approximately 10 years before The Man Trap.
MichaelS
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Can anyone confirm that Clint Howard has now had a role, however minor, in every iteration of the Star Trek TV franchise?
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
@ Artymiss,

"I had to google Mary Sue - we would say Miss Goody Two Shoes in the UK I think."

It doesn't necessary mean a super-nice person, but rather refers to a sort of fan-fic trope of a protagonist who can do anything and always succeeds, essentially acting as a fan proxy engaging in a power-fantasy. The reason people are wary of a Mary-Sue character is because instead of getting a real person we're instead given a sort of POV designed to flatter the viewer, by giving them a vicarious experience of being the best at everything (which many people privately feel they are, and which this validates).

'This Enterprise that's appeared with Captain Pike at the helm -- what other members from the orginal series should be on board at this time and what positions will they hold? Just where are we in the Star Trek timeline now?"

We're roughly at the time when the Enterprise visited Talos. This may be a year or so after that; I'm not quite sure. The only crew member on board you'd know would be Spock, the 2nd officer. Pike's #1 was played by Majel Barrett and for the life of me I can't remember her actual name.
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
@Artymiss: You put your finger on the most obvious problem this show has: Lackluster buildup and attention to detail, and important information is just not presented.

I get your girl power angle, but to be honest, she really pales in comparison to Sarah Connor from Terminator, Buffy or Ellen Ripley. Or Lisbeth Salander from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (the original, not the inferior american remake). Or Xena, while we are at it. Well, I think being a strong person has almost nothing to do with being physically strong anyways, and would it appreciate much more if Burnham wins by wit and cunning rather than by plot-induced super strength.
Chris
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
The one scene that sums up the JJ Trek movies for me: Kirk, after the saucer crash in the third film, goes back to the crash site to retrieve something from the ship with, Chekov I believe? And he's shooting his phaser into the ship at baddies then makes some dopey, cartoony comment about not knowing what he just accidentally shot, which triggers absolute mayhem. Lol. Caption of a starship doesn't know what he's shooting at within his own vessel?

The same level of idiotic storytelling is present in Discovery when it tells you to feel emotion over a decision (that Starfleet and a revered ambassador sanctioned??) to blow up the entire Klingon home world, while only one person is able to talk everyone down from it all. Sigh.

There are plenty of dumb story ideas and episodes in past iterations. No doubt. But after 50 years, there's plenty of great material to help guide new show ideas, too. Bringing back Star Trek without the weight of thought-provoking storytelling is such a miss, IMO.

And this is what I'm saying-- where are the IDEAS? Enough of the inane plot lines. I wrote this kind of shit when I was in grade school, pretending to write Star Trek scripts. Where are the well-thought-out, intellectually-challenging IDEAS that give life to compelling plot lines, characters, drama and discussion?

Man, post-modernism sucks.
Artymiss
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
@ Todd

Thanks for that! I knew someone here would know!
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
@Chris: Well, didn't you see the "But the Tardigrade is actually peaceful" plotline? There is your Idea: Animals act violently when they are cornered, and misunderstanding the unfamiliar will lead to pain!

Thats, like, a totally original idea that was like, never done before, right? Especially not on Star Trek.
Artymiss
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
@ Peter G

Thanks for that. I had not actually heard the term Mary Sue until I encountered it on here.

I did not realise there was a female number one that early in ST history!

@ Hank

I will check out some of these heroines you mention. I did enjoy Buffy back in the day but haven't seen any of the others.
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
@Artymiss: Buffy was great. I miss the nineties TV shows ... Yeah, please watch Terminator 1 and 2. Sarah Connor is about the most realistic and badass woman ever put on screen, at least in my mind. She also got a great character arc over the two movies.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
I think Trent mentioned this in the last thread, but did anyone else notice that this season finale was taken almost straight out of Star Trek: Into Darkness? We've got a weapon of mass destruction ready to use on Qo'noS. We have the protagonist reject that plan and come up with another, more humane plan. We have the protagnoist uncover some of Starfleet's dirty work. Then, after the crew succeeds with alternative path, we have a nice inspirational moral speech at Starfleet Headquarters at the end.

Obviously Khan wasn't involved, but there's a quite a few similarities. I'm not saying these are necessarily bad things, I just wonder why the writers felt they had to hit so many of the same notes of that movie.
Dom
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
@Trent, you raise a lot of good points. I'd be curious to see how many of the writers on Discovery are sci-fi fans. I don't mean Trek fans. I mean how many of them engage in science fiction outside of Trek. Are they engaging with new ideas and scientific developments? I'd also ask the same about history. Are these writers history buffs? What do they know about war? (Roddenberry was a vet, Ronald D Moore served for a brief time in ROTC).

Discovery feels very much like a Trek TV show responding to trends in modern TV, not to science fiction or history. It's about the shock value over substance. That's a shame.
Sooty
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
I am loving this series, slightly too many mad last minute reveals but that can change. I just cant take to Michelle Yeoh as a captain no matter how hard I try. Her face just doesnt move AT ALL. But the story is great and i prefer the serialized format maybe a few stand alone episodes in S2 with a bit of humour.
Yanks
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
TBonz, that's some funny stuff. Can't wait for Jammer's review. He just may take a cue.

Anyone notice the "Bread And Circuses" comment from Georgiou? .. reference to TOS?

So Yanks logs into CBSAA and checks length of episode.... 45 min.... wow, how the hell are they going to wrap this all up? ...

The episode starts out with Michael narrating... telling the "fear story".... my god, SMG can't even do that. I thought at that time, "this episode is doomed".

So, we end the last episode with our good ADM announcing they rescued CAPT Georgiou and she will lead us to victory... blah, blah. totally unneeded. Cornwell could have kept the Captain job and used MU G on the away team etc.

But in this episode, at every turn it seemed like MU G was going out of her way to give herself away. I mean really, no one on the bridge can hear her to talking to Saru, scared tough unpalatable Saru? ... but of course when Michael flies in to protect her appetizer, then they have to "go for a walk" where MU G threatens Michael about trying to expose her. WTF?

Then we get to see Yeoh ... I mean MU G kick the crap out favorite caged Klingon... only for Michael to say "- Enough! - There is another way." (drama...)

So we have to go to our other Klingon source of information, Ash....

"This is a bowline, it doesn't run.
It doesn't slip.
It's the first thing I learned as a kid that made me me.
It ties me to my past.
Who I am."

What brilliant fucking dialog... wow.... tying a knot as a kid .... whatever.... I'm seriously thinking of shutting it off.

...but I forge on...

Tyler agrees to help..... and he's now part of the landing team.

Then, because MU G had a fling with CAPT Killy in the MU, she chooses Tilly to go on the mission. OK, whatever. Fine with me - the more Tilly the better.

So we get "lowlife" Trailer Trash Tilly(tm) that includes, I believe, our first Tilly cleavage... thank you Star Trek Discovery... no Michael or MU G cleavage, just Tilly.... and her 900th hair-do change.

Then "Jeanie Alert", Stamets crosses his arms, blinks and ka=poe=e=owe, Discovery is in a cave on Quonos. We get a little self-gratifying Stamets and then our heroes beam down to Orionville. I'm thinking this is going to be pretty cool. Haven't seen the Orions in awhile. Then I get a glimpse of male Orions dancing... I shake my head and think it must be me... and continue to watch.

Hey, I got a STRONG "Jessica Jones" vibe with the first comments from that Orien woman they approached to sell firearms too...I actually thought that was Krysten Ritter for a minute. :-)

So they have to find the shrine... blah, blah, .... MU G is checking out a MALE Orion prostitute dancer thingy ... good god, they couldn't leave the Orions alone? Of course in good SJW DSC style, MU G has to have a woman too... Tilly's happy about that.

Tilly gets stoned, then figures out there are active volcano's on Quonos, tells Michael and BOOM... get knocked out by MU G. So they've figured out what the real plan was... my guess it included eliminating MU G after the destruction of the Klingon's "home". Of course Jack Michael Burham can't have this and decides they need to speak with our ADM.

Speaking of our Admiral, isn't she a doctor? .... WTF is a doctor ADM doing planning war stuff with Star Fleet? ... maybe that's why the Federation is getting their ass kicked.

Now we have Michael coming full circle here. Instead of acting on impulses and changing the plan, she pleads with Star Fleet and convinces then to change. No Vulcan nerve-pinch required. That's the whole development of Michael.

Pinch to no-pinch.

Now I've read many posts here that have real difficulties with "the plan". It's war and Cornwell is right. "Terms of atrocity are convenient after the fact." ... this is something that Sisko obviously came to terms with... hell, Star Fleet's section 31 infected the Founders... I don't see what all the heart-ache here is. I like that Michael figured out another plan and that it didn't include wasting Quonos, but I don't question Star Fleet's motives here... unless you're OK with speaking Klingon and weathering countless other wars/skirmishes the rest of your life. It's war people.

The new plan - I think they had the right players, but I think it might have been more palatable for L'Rell to demand a vote and establishment of the Klingon High Counsel or something to that effect. I know this is SJW trek, but a female is not going to rule the Klingons. I guess the "home world" means more to all the Klingons that one might expect.

I think Tyler makes the right decision. He has all Voq's memories and can help L'Rell here and the final scene with Tyler and Michael is palatable. ... as was MU G. Michael Yeoh really killed it in both parts. She will be missed... I'm hoping she becomes a thorn in the Federations side and we get to see her again. Not really sure what authority Star Fleet has over her anyways.... she's committed no crimes in this universe.

It was nice to meet Amanda.

The Surak / Michael conversation was well....

Surak: "I am not alone in finding your commitment to Starfleet's ideals commendable.
I asked if I may give it to you.
Your record has been expunged, your pardon by the president of the Federation is official.
Commander Burnham."

Did ANYONE here feel great for her? I mean, according to Discovery this it tantamount to Kirk getting busted to the rank of Captain and .... well you know the rest.

I felt nothing for her. .... nothing .... after 15 episodes, I felt nothing. I wanted to feel something for her, but no.

But hey, we get Clint Howard and "Isik for your thoughts?" so the Discovery writers and producers did their job.... you know....

Then we get the gushing awards ceremony. Who is Michael speaking to? Just horrible.

Nice to see Stamets be promoted (sorry Harry). Suru gets the Medal of Honor I1st Kelpian). and Tilly is promoted to ENS (YEAH!!!) and accepted into SFA Training Academy. WTF is that anyways? She's obviously not heading off to SFA, so she needs a "Training Academy"? Good lord, don't you think she's proven herself? Please don't let her turn into Wesley Crusher.

This was kind of like an Archer "Terra Prime" speech (but not even close to meaning and emotional impact) and a Kirk 2009 movie ending after Pike give Kirk the Enterprise. ... but Michael is standing there speaking to what seems like "her crew" but the audience is behind her and the ADM is announcing the awards? .... who thinks this crap up?

"We will not take shortcuts on the path to righteousness." .... WTF does that have to do with Star Fleet?

Then Michael smiles.... I guess that means her journey is complete... and we all should be very happy, you know that we've been graced by Michael's presence and are all better for it. Same with Star Fleet. Kiss the Michael ring ya all...

So let's end this season and set us up for Season 2 shall we?

Suru is now acting Captain (again) Sarak is happy to see Vulcan fro the bridge and off they go to pick up Discovery's new Captain.... wait for it...... they received a distress call .... and it's from Pike's Enterprise?!?!??!

You know, the one with Michael's brother, Spock on it

Suru orders:
"Helm, slow us down."
"Dropping us out of warp now, sir."

And poof, we are within meters of NCC-1701.... (not a Discovery exclusive problem, but a trek issue nonetheless.)

Then of course we get what should have been the JJ-prise.... and we'll have to wait for next season.

...and we get TOS music that actually pissed me off.

Summary?

Man, I don't know... I get so frustrated with this... I'm not sure I'm going to do this again for season 2.

... but what will probably happen is, .... it's so long before Season 2 I'll forgive and jump in again.

Funniest line?

When Tilly is first speaking to Michael in their room....

"What's your name? Michael.
I never met a female named Michael before.
Do you think that suits you? I'll call you Mickey.
I think that's more approachable.
No, you won't.
Oh, yeah.
No, I won't.
The only other female Michael I ever heard of was Michael Burnham, the mutineer.
You're not her, are you? [CHUCKLING] Are you?

That, was laugh out loud funny :-)

Favorite Characters?

Suru
Tilly
Lorca
Georgiou (both)
Stamets
Sarak

Not so favorite characters?

Michael (affirmed in the last 2 episodes)
Cluber

You'd think that the favorites would outweigh the bad, but it's hard when the bad is the show's lead.

Who cast SMG? .... they should be shot. I have nothing against her personally, but damn...

I didn't feel a struggle for Michael.... I guess that's the crux of the dilemma I guess. I don't know why she made the deliberate decision to kill T'Kuvma... her action was not an emotional response.
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
As an aside on Mary Sues, they are typically thought to be author proxies like Bella Swan or Wesley Crusher (Gene Rodenberry's middle name was Wesley!) but as Peter alludes to, it is not always the case.

Wesley does not suddenly become a great character or less of a Mary Sue if it turns out he was actually made by a faceless commitee versus being a proxy for Rodenberry. I thought Rey in Force Awakens was a mild Mary Sue character and I nevet presumed she was an author insert (my guess is she was hatched by a Disney committee)

Alot of commentators get worked up about whether the label applies to this or that character or criticize the label as being demeaning to female writers and to their characters. But this misses the point: the problem with this sort of character is it's just bad writing to have a golden character that somehow transcends the ordinary rules of the universe he/she inhabits, and wins almost by fiat. It is especially obnoxious when it seems the writing is in the tank for a character that the audience might find objectionable - like trying to enjoy a sporting event where it's obvious that the game is rigged!

Now this sort of thing isn't always fatal to a story. If you have an exceptionally likeable or charismatic character played by a great actor, a la Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lechter, you can catch lightning in a bottle and essentially win the audience over so that they forgive the story's shortcomings. But this is hard to do. James Spader is another actor who has pulled this sort of thing off in shows like Boston Legal.

So if Michael Burnham was this mezmerizing character with a tour de force performance by SMG I think people would be alot more forgiving of the Mary Sue qualities. But the writing is just so flagrantly bad (the one-two punch of Burnham's mutiny and her murder of the Klingon leader basically sealed her fate in pilot!) and SMG delivers such an uncharismatic, sedate, lifeless, boring performance - it becomes almost a perfect storm. It really is of Wesley Crusher proportions.
Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
And so the theory that the "Orian Syndicate" is actually the O'Ryan Syndicate--the Irish Mob in space--remains forever dead outside the "Wild Mass Guessing" page of TV Tropes. :)
Keila
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
Great analysis in here guys!! Just wanted to say biggest disappointment for me in STD (really unfortunate acronym) was the way they brought out really cool ideas and then forgot about them. For example:

Tardigrade gone
Harry Mudd, two quick appearances, then gone
The USS Defiant as a tool to get home, gone
The idea of the ISS Discovery and Captain Killy in the prime universe, introduced and then dismissed
The idea of the emperor as captain of Discovery, why??? She could just have been a consultant and done exactly the same stuff. Perhaps with more supervision?

And then STD was a complete consequence free cluster f@$@ of bad ideas:

Michael Burnham mutiny...here's your badge back Mike
Harry Mudd destroying the ship over and over...please leave with your wife and go home
Michael Burnham and Tilly releasing the tardigrade...did Captain Lorca ever address that?
The emperor attempting to destroy Qonos...heres your freedom Empie...on the Klingon home world...just go be free...make good choices!!

Please! Hope they get better writers next year.
Plain Simple
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
It's the end of the Discovery's first ride. Let's have another look at the good, the bad, and the Discovery. (I have only read a few of the first comments above at this point, so I might be repeating what others have said.)


The good:

-Last week I predicted that this episode would be action packed. I'm quite happy that I was wrong. Not that there is anything wrong with action per se, but I feel this series has not given us enough character work to date, so I'm glad they had some more attempts at that this week.

-The Klingon war has been wrapped up. I don't know if it was ever officially said, but I do seem to remember reading somewhere that the Klingon war would strictly be a season one thing, and I'm glad they stuck with that. I like that the ended it in a somewhat Trekkian way, with 'blowing stuff up' not being the ultimate solution, although 'forcing the Klingons to unite with the threat of blowing stuff up' might not be a whole lot better. I suppose the show is making the argument that this kind of show of force is what Klingons respond to and so it is a solution that fits their culture. I'm not sure if that's troubling or clever.

-I knew I knew that Orion guy Tilly was talking to from somewhere, but I couldn't place him, until I read afterwards that he was Clint Howard. Balok! And while I enjoy seeing him back in Star Trek, I'm not sure I'm too happy with the way that 'opium den' scene was played.

-More Michelle Yeoh! Since we've probably seen the last of her for a while (beyond the obvious between-seasons hiatus we are entering), I need to take every opportunity to say how much I've enjoyed her presence on this show. I've never been really familiar with her work, but I would like to check out some movies now in which she has a main role. Any suggestions?

-Even though I've not really cared for Tyler/Burnham all season long, their scenes this week were okay. Perhaps a bit too long, but it felt like a decent wrap up.




The bad:

-The pacing in this episode was really weird. We spend a large chunk of time having fun in Orion town and then in the last ten minutes or so the Klingon war goes from being hopeless to being over, L'Rell becomes Klingon leader, Tyler decides to join her, Georgiou disappears to who knows where, Burnham is suddenly a hero who is allowed to entertain the whole Federation council (or whoever those people were) with her monologues, the Discovery crew (well, the ones we focussed on this season anyway; what role could the other crewmembers possibly have played?) get medals, the Discovery gets a new (unnamed) captain, and we meet the Enterprise.

-I mentioned it in the previous point, but why do only the main cast of the show, instead of the main crew of the Discovery, get medals? Why Culber and not Detmer or any other of the bridge crew whose names I don't even remember? Things like this only serve to keep reminding us that this is a TV show, so only the people whom the show says are important, are important, not the people who in a real situation like that would be important.

-Some of the pay-offs in this episode suffer from what has come before. For example, the L'rell stuff and the Klingon war, which are woven back together again here. I usually try to view a show within the expectations it sets for itself, instead of the expectations created by external factors, but in this case I cannot resist the urge to bring up this 'promise' we were sold before the start of the show that DSC would show us the Klingon war from both sides and we would get an in-depth look at Klingon culture. Of course nothing of the sort happened. Unless I'm forgetting anyone, we had four main Klingon characters this year: T'Kuvma, who died pretty quickly; Voq, who didn't do a whole lot pre-Tyler and whose only real attribute after his change was his senseless aggression towards MU Voq and Burnham a few weeks ago; that super eeeevil Klingon commander whose name I forgot and who was blown up before the mid-season break; and L'Rell who is easily the most interesting of the four. Unfortunately, she is still not very interesting. I think the highlight for her character was her interaction with Cornwell on the Klingon ship. Besides that, she has not done much more than hang around Voq early on, and be in the Discovery brig in the latter part of the season. So on the one hand the war has felt pretty empty, because we don't really know anyone involved in it outside of the Discovery crew, Sarek, and Cornewell, and on the other hand L'rell has at best been a character with a lot of unrealized potential. And now we're putting the two together in the grand climax of the season... it just feels flat to me.

-What was the point of making Georgiou captain, execpt for the shocking twist^{tm} at the end of last week's episode? Nothing as far as I can see. All she did this week was fly the Discovery to Qo'noS and lead an away team. The former could've been done by Saru and for the latter you don't need to be captain.



The Discovery:

Where is all of this going?

-I like that the writers attempted to wrap up this season's storyline and that we are not left with a big cliffhanger which continues the season 1 storyline. The war is over; the spore drive is out of commission for now (with the weakest of excuses; I hope they find a better way to write that out of the show for good); Tyler/Voq, L'rell, and Georgiou are all off and away doing their own things; Burnham is reinstated (this is getting close to reset button territory).

-Whichever form season 2 is going to take, it looks like it will be the Discovery crew (Saru, Burnham, Stamets, Tilly, and some of the up-until-now secondary characters like Detmer) with a new captain going out doing Star Trekkie things. That could be nice. Hopefully they will broaden the viewpoint a bit and not make it a Burnham-focussed show anymore. Her story has been told now, for better or worse, it'd be good to see more of the other characters.

-So, the Enterprise cliffhanger. I was actually somewhat relieved. When Sarek said that they were going to Vulcan to pick up the new captain, all I was thinking was "please, don't do something stupid like making Spock the new captain", so running into the Enterprise with (presumably) Spock on board was somewhat of a relieve. What are they going to do with the Enterprise in season 2? Who knows. If the show's recent cliffhanger follow-up record is any indication the answer is 'probably not much, as far as long term storytelling is concerned'. The 'Murca is really from the MU' cliffhanger was quickly resolved by killing him. The 'Emperor Georgiou is now captain' cliffhanger was quickly resolved by stripping her of that rank again, without having her do much captaining. Even the 'Burnham goes to prison' cliffhanger from the pilot episode(s) was resolved immediately. Only the mid-season 'we are in another universe' cliffhanger played out over a few episodes. So my suspicion would be that whatever the plans with the Enterprise are, they will play out in (part of) the first episode of season 2.

Oh, and I'll try to stay out of any debates about the redesign of the Enterprise, which I suspect might have been brought up a few times in the comments so far (but I haven't read them yet, so I don't know for sure).




Random confusion:

-I'm very confused about Saru's rank. At some point in the episode he ws called 'captain', even though at that point officially Georgiou was still acting captain of the Discovery. So is Saru's rank actually captain now? And if so, why are they about to pick up a new captain on Vulcan?
Skecko
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
The scene with Georgiou beating up L'Rell was there just to have Yeoh do some karate kicks. They could have just asked Ash to begin with, and they probably would have. So that was dumb

And for this ultimate mission to the klingon homeworld, the most important mission for the entire war, they send who? Mike (of course), the murdering cannibal mirror Emperor, a Klingon spy, and a ditzy ensign. Of course. Why not? Makes perfect sense.

They sell weapons on the black market to get some cash, then two immediately go gambling and then have a profound discussion about how Mike's parents died, one who immediately goes off to have a bisexual 3-way with some whores, and one who goes off and gets high and passes out and nearly robbed. Great team!! And so very Star Trek.

Volcanic fumes get people stoned I guess for some reason.

When Mike finally discovers the real plot, which is to destroy an entire planet killing billions of people, she calls up the admiral and talks to her for 2 minutes and the entirety of starfleet changes their mind in 10 seconds. Who is Mike to even be calling an admiral? Why would anyone care what she thinks? She's a convicted war criminal.

And that whole sequence takes place in 30 seconds somehow. Georgiou drops the hydrobomb (lol) into the volcano. Mike learns about the bomb and beams up to Discovery, calls the admiral, has her little chat, arranges for Georgiou to keep her freedom, convinces them to let L'Rell become a Klingon Emperor, gets L'Rell and has her dress up all fancy, then they beam down to somewhere, and make their way into the temple to find Georgiou still standing in the same spot doing nothing.

And of course letting Georgiou go, and giving the detonator to L'Rell, both make zero sense in any way. I still can't think of a reasonable explanation for either of those things to have happened.

An isik for your thoughts? Grrr....

And Mike gets pardoned and promoted because of what again? She started the war (supposedly), then did nothing useful or even important until this episode when she suggests that instead of blowing up Kronos, they give control of the bomb to one of the main instigators of the war in the first place. Ok then.

Seriously what did Mike do this entire season that was helpful in any way to the war effort? One thing other than switching who has the detanator? I can't think of anything.

1/2 star.


If anyone cares, my overall ratings for the season.

The Vulcan Hello - 2.0 stars
Battle at the Binary Stars - 2.0
Context is for Kings - 2.5
The Butcher's Knife... - 2.0
Choose Your Pain - 2.5
Lethe - 2.0
Magic to Make... - 1.5
Si Vis Pacem... - 2.5
Into the Forest I Go - 3.0
Despite Yourself - 3.0
The Wolf Inside - 2.0
Vaulting Ambition - 2.0
What's Past is Prologue - 0.5
The War Without... - 2.0
Will You Take My Hand? - 0.5

Average score - 2.0

That works out to be better than my average for VOY's first season, but not by much. I really wanted, and was expecting and hoping for something much better.

Bleh.
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Yanks

"I didn't feel a struggle for Michael.... I guess that's the crux of the dilemma I guess. I don't know why she made the deliberate decision to kill T'Kuvma... her action was not an emotional response."

That decision is the original sin of Discovery. I still can't wrap my head around it. She has her phaser on stun, his back is turned, so rather than stun him and COMPLETE THE MISSION that will avoid a hugely destructive war she flips her weapon to kill and INSTIGATES SAID WAR.

That's why it rings so hollow when she's later trying to be the avatar for all things Starfleet, respect for new life, peace, exploration, etc. She's not Starfleet. What other Starfleet person would throw away their mission like that? I have a hard time seeing Worf killing T'Kuvma in a similar situation, where T'Kuvma had just killed Picard, but the mission was to capture him, and Worf should be a lot more inclined give into his baser impulses than a human raised by Vulcans....

It makes even less sense when you go back a scene or two and realize that Michael was the one who talked Philippa out of killing T'Kuvma in the first place! Philippa wanted to blow his ass up, but Michael talks her out of it. Killing him will make him a martyr, humiliating him with capture will stop other Klingons from following him and avoid a war, all mostly in line with established Klingon canon.....

If they wanted to tell a story of redemption, well, they didn't do a good job. Michael doesn't earn her redemption. She's single-handily responsible for the most destructive war in Federation history, presumably millions of deaths. A better redemption arc would have been for her to capture T'Kuvma but carry the guilt of the death of her mentor and failure to avoid the Battle of the Binary Stars. Starfleet could have demoted her ass, for the attempted mutiny, but T'Kuvma's capture keeps her out of the brig.

"Who cast SMG? .... they should be shot. I have nothing against her personally, but damn..."

I don't get the dislike for SMG, to be honest. It feels like the folks who blamed Hayden Christensen for the Star Wars Prequels, when Sir Alec Guinness himself couldn't have made those lines believable. It would have been better if they had kept MIchelle Yeoh around, SMG had good chemistry with her, but for the most part I think she plausibly acts the material she's given. I blame the writers more than SMG, but that's just me. :)
Yanks
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@Plain Simple
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 2:29pm (UTC -6)

"Random confusion:

-I'm very confused about Saru's rank. At some point in the episode, he was called 'captain', even though at that point officially Georgiou was still acting captain of the Discovery. So is Saru's rank actually captain now? And if so, why are they about to pick up a new captain on Vulcan?"

If they called him Captain it was because he was acting in that position. (not uncommon in the military) He is a Commander and didn't get promoted at the end, he just received the Medal of Honor.
Dom
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
This paragraph from io9 really hits the nail on the head when it comes to the DS9-STD comparisons:

"There’s long been a comparison among Trek fans bettween what Discovery has tried to do with examining the ideals of a peaceful utopia in wartime and what Deep Space Nine did with that idea 25 years ago. On a surface level, they’re very similar premises: An overwhelming warrior race (Discovery’s Klingons, DS9's Dominion) puts the Federation on the retreat, and to find any way of avoiding complete and total annihilation, the Federation is forced to wrestle with the idea that it may have to sacrifice some of its most sacred ideals in the process. But where DS9 took that conflict and made it personal, introspective, and most importantly consequential for its characters and institutions, Discovery deflected any self-examination it tried to attempt, and instead found itself a whole universe of evil doppelgangers to act as scapegoats."

https://io9.gizmodo.com/in-its-first-season-star-trek-discovery-asked-hard-qu-1822820665
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom

Nailed it.

I would add that Discovery's ending doesn't play by its own rules. The Female Shapeshifter ending the war after a single "conversation" (i.e., link) with Odo felt like a cop-out, but it at least made sense in the context of the universe that DS9 created, where she had previously said, "Odo is a changeling. Bringing him home, returning him to the Great Link, means more to us than the Alpha Quadrant itself."

Discovery didn't lay any groundwork for the ending that it gave us. It makes no sense at all. It's a cheap trick, the writers raised the stakes too high and couldn't find a way to write themselves out of the corner in the time allowed by CBS. Sad thing is, they could have told this war story without raising the stakes to, "Earth stands on the precipice."
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
@Tim: Don't think too hard about it. The writers just needed a reason for Micheal to be shunned by starfleet. I guess they might have tried for something along these lines: Michael acts emotionally and kills T'Kuvma, but over the course of the story, she realizes that "killing is wrong, mkay?" and becomes the ultimate symbol of star-fleet-ism. There are some scenes where she tries to combat her hatred for Klingons. The problem with that is: If they were going for it, they so utterly botched it, that it is not even funny anymore.

They introduce Michael as more Vulcan than Human, dictated by logic not feelings. So her sudden "GOTTA KILL T'KUVMA" emotional outbreak is not registered as such - especially since she looks just as cold as she did before. If this actually was a classical story, she would have had her mentor, who guides her to the right path: Coming to terms with her hatred for Klingons, adopting an enlightened philosophy, etc. Instead, Micheal IS the mentor (Or: The Mentors, that shock-rock band): She constantly is portrayed as the arbiter of morality. She tells everybody what is right. So her actions just come off as either stupid, shizophrenic or calculated evil.

Yes, we get it: Michael shooting T'Kuvma is like taking revenge for her parents who were killed by Klingons - prompted by the death of your replacement mother. That could have worked - but it didn't. Simply because she didn't act like she was in emotional distress, but was totally professional about it. There was no build-up. Maybe let her scream in rage, and show remorse immediatly after, instead of only showing regrets that she is now in such a bad spot. I blame that firmly on SMGs acting: Yes, she says she regrets shooting T'Kuvma, and that it was a mistake, but it never comes off as sincere. It is like a child that says "yeah, I regret stealing that (because I was caught, not because it's wrong)". And in the next scene she is there lecturing everybody about morality ...

If, and only if, the writers were going for this story, they failed to convey it on every level. Michael just goes from super emotional to super logical, there is no rhyme or reason to it, no developement that is discernable for the viewer. I mean, she attacked Giorgeo in mutiny - would you really do that without ANY serious buildup to a person you consider your replacement mother (well, second replacement mother, whatever)? So how can we believe her emotional outbreak after Giorgeo dies? After all, she had no problem just trampling over her a scene or two ago.

And even if she hates Klingons so much - would she really kill T'Kuvma in a fit of rage? I mean, she never shows rage... or much emotion anyways. Would she really go against her own better judgement and snap? Is she just a psychopath? Just show me some emotions! Make her cry when she sees dead Giorgeo, instead of pouting, like she does all the time anyways. Show me what motivates her! Show me her reasons... So many interesting possibilities, that are just left unexplored. There is just no direction to the story. Michael is supposed to be highly emotional, troubled and torn, yet at the same time is portrayed as the infallible arbiter of truth that always succeeds... You can not have both in the same character without some seriously good writing - I think it might even be impossible.

All that gets burried under plot and drama anyways.
Yanks
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -6)

I'm with ya aside from SMG's acting chops. She really had the chance to show us her heart and I didn't get it. But that's me... here's hoping she does better in season 2.

Break.

I didn't rate this thing. I channeled my inner William B again. Sorry, didn't mean to go that long for sure.

I think I'll have to go 2 stars here. Too much that upset me.

Double break.

Here are my DSC Season 1 ratings:

The Vulcan Hello - 3.50
Battle of the Binary Stars - 3.50
Context is for Kings - 3.00
The Butcher's Knife Care Not for the Lambs Cry - 3.00
Choose Your Pain - 2.50
Lethe - 3.00
Magic Makes the Sanest Man Go Wild - 4.00
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum - 3.50
Into the Forest I Go - 4.00
Despite Yourself - 3.00
The Wolf Inside - 3.00
Vaulting Ambition - 3.00
What's Past Is Prologue - 4.00
The War Without, The War Within - 3.00
Will You Take My Hand? - 2.00

Total: 48.00
Average: 3.20

This is by far my highest average for a trek season 1. I haven't rated TNG or TOS yet though. TOS S1 might eclipse it, but I'm certain TNG will not.

I guess my heartache is how it all ended. I see my average rating but I don't feel like it's that high. I almost feel like I've bought a clunker and didn't realize it until the warranty was up.
Mertov
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
Trent (this is in response to your post above addressing Adonis and I),

In a way your post embodies few of the things that I was trying to say. It appears that you have certain set of expectations from Trek that you have formed over a certain period of time, mostly I gather from what you said, from watching TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager, and since Enterprise, Abrams movies and Discovery have not met your expectations, thus you label the Abrms movies “stupid”, claim that they should be torn down, and box those who may like them as “conditioned to become passive consumers” based on your perception of that set of expectation. Furthermore, with a blanket statement – “It’s obvious…” (to you apparently, but to anyone else? We don’t know) – you affirm that starting with Enterprise, it’s all “dumber,” “stupid,” and so on..

JJ Abrams’ movies have brought back a quasi-dead franchise and brought in a lot of fans to the Trek realm. There are perfectly intelligent people who like Enterprise, or Discovery. Even if we may not agree on anything else, I hope you see at least how that may come across as derogatory towards those folks or that you are boxing them into a presupposed classification. Everyone has a “Trek” they like, whether it be TOS, DS9, ENT, or else. Because some series or movies do not fit your perception of what Trek should be it does not make those shows “stupid” or their viewers “conditioned individuals.” DS9 is my favorite but I am not about to denigrate a fan of ENT (my least liked) fan just because that is their favorite or that they may not enjoy DS9. I truly did not like the third Star Trek V, I would have strong criticisms about that movie, but I would never for one second put a denigrating label to it or say something derogatory about its viewers who enjoyed it.

50+ years of Trek and the series and movies are bound to become different and it’s not reasonable to expect all of them to live up to the set of expectations we have formed due to the experience we have gotten from watching our favorite series/movies. You can of course call it any name, or label it in any category you want, nobody is going to stop you, but surely you can see why that type of stance would be seen as extreme or severe. Same thing goes for your view that everything after Voyager is the devolution of the franchise. That is your perception and that’s fine. But fans of ENT or Discovery may have differing opinions and they are not necessarily all conditioned, dumbed-down, or reduced intellects entertaining themselves with watching “stupid” shows.

“What is Star Trek?” does not have definitive answer to which all Trekkies will agree. I watched TOS back in the 70s in my early teenage years, because sci-fi with space adventure was rare on TV and I was enamored by it. Even though I only began to perceive the social messages few years later in the re-re-runs, it did not make me a “lesser” or “stronger” fan than when I first started watching it regularly. Then came TNG and I also loved it, but for different reasons than TOS. Yes, the space adventure aspect was still there, but there were also a lot of conflicts, Geordi’s technobabble, human condition through Data, exploration of other species in space took the forefront compared to how I watched TOS. Then came DS9, and I discovered that an overall arch works just as well, and I began to enjoy it for the conflicts that war and political stigma created, and how the crew dealt with it. I loved that not everything was pristine in Starfleet and that there were strains even among the crew, and that they could not always follow the ever-blurry ST principles. Ds9 was a good mix of action and story. Then came Voyager (these last three overlapped some), and it was again episodical, in a ship. It was not my favorite series in the franchise, but I still enjoyed it because it appealed to the Star Trek perception that formed in me from TNG mostly. There were also movies during all that time that kept on adding my understanding and perception of Trek. Enterprise arrived, and I watched it with interest, albeit my least favorite series because I wanted to see the early days of space exploration within the Trek realm. Abrams movies were very entertaining, I enjoyed all three for much different reasons than I enjoyed TOS, TNG and others. I am enjoying Discovery too, with all its shortcomings and flaws, but again for different reasons than the previous series/movies. It still appeals to the adventurous side of me, I do believe there is development for a few characters but not nearly enough, I like the action scenes, the serialization, and I actually enjoyed the first season - again despite its problems - more than I have enjoyed first seasons of other series except TOS. Anyhow, my point is that each franchise builds its own character, and appeals to different set of expectations in millions of fans. I don't seek to pass judgment on one based on my experience with another because they vary. I have grown in age and mentality over the decades too, and the fan base of Star Trek has evolved and will continue to evolve. You couldn't even get Trekkies to agree on the defining characteristics of Star Trek. It is for all these reasons that one or few series/movies among them should not be denigrated or brushed aside as idiotic or codswallop, nor should their fans be characterized as beings of inferior intellect or “conditioned,” just because those series/movies don’t fit the set of expectations that one has come to seek according his/her experience.

For example, BZ has a post right after yours, and Chrome has one right after that. They have valid criticisms also, but they are mainly about Discovery and done so without insulting it or attacking their fans. I have read great posts on this site that bring criticism to the series (or to other series and episodes) and I learn a lot from them. I even learn a lot from un-ST-related posts (such as yours on global warming, that thread of posts had nothing to do with the show, but in retrospect, I was glad your posts were there, because they pushed me to research more, and learn. I feel enriched by that). Again, nobody is stopping anyone from posting whatever they want in any type of language (hey, just look above), but an exchange of ideas conducted with all sides considering the other’s angle yields better rewards. Anyway, I have gone on a lot longer than I intended to and probably won't have much more on this, in general, I prefer to speak about the episode in question.
The floor is yours or anyone else’s. Thanks for reading if you made it to the end.
Chris
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
@Hank: Oh right. Discovery can win diversity AND animal rights awards now. This show is so God Tier, omg.
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
@Hank

Very good analysis, though I'll again stick up for SMG a bit and say that I would blame the writers and/or directors for her wooden performance. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt primarily because I see how lazy the writing is.

I really was on board with the show until that moment where she flips the phaser to kill and shoots T'Kuvma in the back. There's just nothing on screen to explain why she would do that. Is that SMG's fault or the director/writer's? I'm inclined to blame the latter.

I'm reminded of one of Mr. Plinkett's (many) criticisms of the Star Wars prequels, where he rips apart the Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul lightsaber fight for being emotionally flat. After Qui-Gon is killed you see Obi-Wan scream, his mentor was just killed, he's pissed off, the audience is pissed off, Obi-Wan charges at Darth Maul, out for blood, and....... immediately engages in a highly choreographed completely emotionless fight. Is that McGregor's fault or George Lucas? Plinkett contrasts it unfavorably to other fight scenes in cinema, both in and out of Star Wars, where the fights are more about the characters than the choreography.

That whole scene just felt like the writers had a checklist, Michael needs to burn her last bridge with Starfleet, Philippa needs to die, and the war needs to commence. I guess it could have worked, if they had written it better, but it feels rushed, rather like the end of Discovery. It's as if the writers realized they were almost out of screen time for the pilot episode and oh shit, we better wrap this up soon.....
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
@Mertow: No, you miss the point. The point is that Discovery is stupid, indepentend from it taking place inside the star trek canon, as I tried to explain already above. Not stupid because "That wouldn't happen in the Star Trek Universe", but stupid because "that would never happen in any universe, because that is utterly stupid".

Example: James Bond finds the Villain, and places a bomb in the Villains lair, because the villain threatens to destroy London. Bond then reveals himself to the villain, and says: "I have a bomb. I will use it, if you do not promise to not nuke London." The Villain says: "Oh gee oh my, yes, sure Mr. Bond, I will certainly not destroy London!" Bond then hands him the detonator for the bomb in the villains base, and says: "Great, you can have this, it detonates the bomb, now, I will go back to England. Good day to you, Mr. Villain!" The Villain than holds a speech in front of his mooks: "You know, us destroying London - that is really not who we are! We should work on ourselfs, improve ourselfs! Introspection is the word of the day!" And then the villain removes the nuke from London....

Please tell me that that is not stupid. As for people still liking the story: No, it does not make themselves stupid. Regarding the "just accepting this drivel" part: Sure, you can make people like things through repitition. That's what an acquired taste is. So yes, you can indeed make people like shallow, stupid shows, even though they are not stupid. You can also appeal to our base instincts: That is what most advertisement does. People buy a new iPhone even though their old one isn't broken or inadequate yet. Does not necessarily make them stupid, but we are complex beings not only driven by intellect. So I am sorry if you take that personally, but Trent has a point.
Hank
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
@Tim: Yeah, you are probably right and it is mostly the writers fault. It is just that her delivery would even kill a well written story... I guess they are both to blame, and the exact ratio of actor/writing is indeterminate, we can just agree that the end product sucks.
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Here's a question: does the show ever overtly acknowledge Michael's decision to kill T'Kuvma? I'm serious: does it ever come out overtly in the text? I still have a suspicion that this was not actually in the script, regardless of what we saw on screen- that it was some kind of mistake or snafu that it was portrayed the way it was.

But you guys would know as I haven't been able to watch for a long time since I cancelled my subscription.1
Mertov
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Someone asked above about the writers (Dom?), and I believe that, believe it or not, most of the writers are long-time Trek fans.

Akiva Goldsman is supposed to be alife-long fan (I personally don't like his directing in the two epsiodes he did with Discovery.

Lisa Randolph who wrote two episodes is a long-time Trek fan (I like the two episodes she wrote). She also has a vast writing resume starting with many scripts for The Shield and Being Human.

Joe Menosky, a long-time Trek alumni from the older series, co-wrote "Lethe" with Ted Sullivan who also wrote another episode (and directed one other I believe). Ted Sullivan is a life-long Trek lover.

The first three episodes have Bryan Fuller and the two current producers names on the writing credits. Fuller is a long-time Trek alumni, I know that Berg is a long-time Trek fan, don't know about Harberts before Discovery. 5th episode "Choose Your Pain" has Harberts and Berg as writers.

Jesse Alexander who co-wrote the 4th episode has worked with Fuller many times (Hannibal), wrote for Hannibal, Alias, and Heroes. Now he is with American Gods I believe. Not much Star Trek background other than Discovery. The other co-writer, Aron Coleite has written for Heroes and also wrote for Marvel Comics.

Alexander also co-wrote the timeloop episode with Coleite.

Jordon Nardino who wrote one episode has a ton of writing credits in the business but not related to Star Trek until Discovery.

"Si Vis Pacem...." (I thought with a great A-story but mediocre B-story) was written by Kirsten Beyer, a long-time Trekkie with a number of Star Trek novels, mostly Voyager.

Sean Cochran wrote the Frakes-directed "Despite Yourself" episode, probably a good thing Frakes directed, because his writing resume is very thin. This episode was his first writing work.

Two people I have never heard of before, one of them Korean, wrote the best episode of the season (in my opinion of course) "Into the Forest I Go."
Mertov
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Hank... Speaking of missing the point..
There was nothing I took personally to begin with..
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov, "thus you label the Abrms movies “stupid”, claim that they should be torn down, and box those who may like them as “conditioned to become passive consumers” based on your perception of that set of expectation"

The JJ movies ARE "stupid."

In fairness, so were the TNG movies. Like the JJ movies, they're just action movies. That's it. There are brief glimpses of "Star Trek" in most of the movies (e.g., Picard & Co. silently watching the Vulcan landing in First Contact, Kirk & Co's opening scene in Beyond) but at their core they remain action movies. Our Earl Grey sipping intellectual captain ends every TNG movie by going mano-a-mano with the Bad Guy™. Compare that lazy slop to Khan, which had its share of action, but was primarily a character piece about Kirk coming to terms with his age and place in the universe.

The JJ movies draw so much ire because they weren't made for Star Trek fans. They were made to introduce Star Trek to the masses. They are to Star Trek what the Marvel movies are to comic books. They take a universe with brand recognition and distill it for the masses. The studios throw huge gobs of money at the productions and expect a similarly huge payoff, so the screenwriters and directors aren't allowed to take any chances, but always have to take the safe course and make a mass produced and marketed popcorn flick.

Do you know what the highest grossing movie was before JJ? The Voyage Home. Do you think a movie like that could get made today? In any cinematic universe? Not likely.

I'll stick up a bit for Discovery and say that it at least tries. I'd take Discovery over any of the JJ movies. I'd even take it over the TNG movies. Despite all the lazy writing and pointless "twists" of Discovery, it at least tries to tell a Star Trek story. It's a shame they didn't just set it in the future and tell a completely new story, without relying so much on the nostalgia of Trek's past. It wouldn't have turned out any worse and may have been better received by both old and new fans alike.
Mertov
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Tim, feel free to call it anything you want (I told the same thing to Trent), based of course, on your set of expectations from the vast and evolving arena of Trek.
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason, "Here's a question: does the show ever overtly acknowledge Michael's decision to kill T'Kuvma? I'm serious: does it ever come out overtly in the text? I still have a suspicion that this was not actually in the script, regardless of what we saw on screen- that it was some kind of mistake or snafu that it was portrayed the way it was."

Not to my knowledge. I don't recall it EVER being discussed. It's said -- over and over again -- that Michael bears responsibility for the war, but the exact reasons why she bears that responsibility are never discussed.

If it wasn't in the script then the SFX folks need to be taken out and shot. My recollection of that scene is that she takes the time to flip her phaser from stun to kill. There's a SFX of her doing this. I can't fathom that it wasn't a deliberate choice on the part of the writers. Hank may be justified in some of his criticisms of SMG, because the way she acts that scene is completely wooden, she commits murder as casually as most people order coffee. It's probably a collaborative failure, between SMG, the Director, and the writers. It could have worked, written and acted a bit different, but to just casually shoot someone in the back requires a different character (Garek could have done it, lol) or a different motivation for this character.

I'm going to binge watch the series now that it's over and see if it looks any different on a second viewing. Trying to keep an open mind here and remind myself of the good things, namely that it's better than the JJ Verse and the first season of TNG was a flop too......
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov, "Tim, feel free to call it anything you want (I told the same thing to Trent), based of course, on your set of expectations from the vast and evolving arena of Trek."

It's based on my set of expectations for entertainment, not just Star Trek. I can and have made similar criticisms of other creative franchises, ranging from Die Hard to Star Wars.

It's the reason why I'm so meh on going out to the movies. So much of it is just mass produced garbage. Junk food entertainment. It takes a rare gem to get me out to the movies. The last movie I cared enough to go see in the cinema was Hidden Figures. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Jammer
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
"Do you know what the highest grossing movie was before JJ? The Voyage Home. Do you think a movie like that could get made today? In any cinematic universe? Not likely."

To be fair, The Voyage Home probably caters to general audiences as much as if not more than any of the Abrams movies. It's basically light on Trek universe lore and focuses more on concerns familiar to anyone in the 1980s like whale hunting and the impact of a species going extinct. It's less Trek and more funny-costumed actors interacting with everyday people in San Francisco.

And yeah, while TVH may have grossed the most of the TOS films, I still think most general audiences are familiar with the story of "The Wrath of Khan", Shatner screaming scene and all, which is why the new Trek films keep trying to rip from it.
Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
I'm still a freak who thinks that Search for Spock is the best early Star Trek film.

It established the Klingons as we came to know and love them (glory! battle!), the Genesis story had an interesting theme of scientific hubris and the crew certainly shared that year's Michael Burnham Award for Excellence in Insubordination.

Sulu a few years later got his own for risking war to break Kirk out of jail. Sisko and Janeway have at least two. The rest of Starfleet history shows her retroactive influence. :)



J.B.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
Great review, Jammer. I guess Discovery's first season joins the very limited list of Trek seasons without any 4-star episodes.
Dormault
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
It was mentioned in other episode that the federation doesn't execute prisoners, so Burnham's life sentence is probably the worst punishment available. Had she killed Capt Georgiou and everyone at Shenzou the sentence would probably be the same. And it was so easily revoked, rank restored, because she had a brilliant idea to end the war?
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
"Burnham's arc is actually not bad at all. She made a reckless decision to mutiny in the pilot that she thought would save the Federation (although I was never sold on the logic of that move), was humbled and stripped of rank, got a second chance, and found in her dealings with Lorca that his amoral actions touting the ends justifying the means were unacceptable."

Jammer,

I come back to what I've said throughout my time here (and on other forums) that the original sin was Michael's decision to murder T'Kuvma. That's the decision that put the Federation on a path to war. It's odd that the writers barely focus on that character defining choice. It's as though they wrote her with the mutiny in mind and forgot about the whole our protagonist is a murderer thing. Michael is shown to regret her decision to mutiny but not her decision to kill T'Kuvma, an action she herself predicted would instigate the war.

There's a broader discussion to be had here, regarding this type of serialized storytelling, and whether it caused the writers to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Again, it's like they had a checklist:

1. Michael is a mutineer.
2. Philippa has to die.
3. We have a war with the Klingons.
4. We'll visit the mirror universe.
5. Every episode has to end with a twist/cliffhanger.

I would like to see Season Two return to a TNG/NCIS style form of episodic storytelling that allows for character development (no Voyager Reset Buttons!), but I don't see that happening. CBS wants a watercooler show, like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, something that will keep people coming back to All Access, and they're not confident enough that Star Trek can do that without the darkness, cliffhangers and twists.
Trent
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
I just realized this episode was written by Akiva Goldsman, the guy behind Batman and Robin and Transformers.

Tim said: "I can and have made similar criticisms of other creative franchises, ranging from Die Hard to Star Wars."

The original Die Hard trilogy was from the R rated action movie's heyday. No CGI, no cell phones, serious cinematographers, lots of swearing, lots of physical stunts, lots of squibs, hyper-violence but in a realistic, low-key way, and high-concept scripts which unfolded in near real time in very confined locations. Like them or not, these movies were nevertheless the product of a very specific time period, and they were once very original.

Then comes the last 2 Die Hard movies, several decades later. They're basically straight to DVD crap and barely similar to their predecessors; lots of CGI, no swearing, digital blood, the violence and writing feel less realistic, the plots no longer unfold in tight locations (but sprawl everywhere), the cinematography is all lazily done in post with digital filters and they're just generally very bad and generic. Imagine defending these films for being "modern" and "updated" and "geared toward new audiences" (they'll introduce younger people to the originals!) and "embracing new trends". No, they're a nostalgic money grab by hacks.

Chrome: "To be fair, The Voyage Home probably caters to general audiences as much as if not more than any of the Abrams movies."

Yeah, Voyage Home is audience friendly, but it's not pandering. It doesn't give audiences what they think they want. And its interesting; I can't think of another film about stealing whales and dragging them from the past to the future in order to save humanity. And Meyer and Nimoy's ("I wanted no dying, no fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical bad guys.") refusal to write any kind of conventional violence is not something audiences typically flock to.



Trent
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Jammer said: "How much of this show grew from Bryan Fuller's original ideas, and how much of it was scrapped or retooled?"

The first 3 episodes scream Brian Fuller. Michael, as a character, also feels very much his creation, though he'd probably have liked her even more messed up.

From episode 3 onwards, you can sense the writers begrudingly forcing themselves to hit all of Fuller's major plot beats. They don't want to do any of this, but are boxed into doing it. You can sense them rushing through his ideas - ideas they have no attachment too.

Part of me thinks that, fully freed from Fuller, season 2 will be very different. But the revelation of the Enterprise at the end of this episode suggests that Discovery's writer's room already has another convoluted arc planned out. Such an approach might continue to be a very restrictive thing.
Yanks
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer: "It's really a shame. Burnham's arc is actually not bad at all. She made a reckless decision to mutiny in the pilot that she thought would save the Federation (although I was never sold on the logic of that move), was humbled and stripped of rank, got a second chance, and found in her dealings with Lorca that his amoral actions touting the ends justifying the means were unacceptable."

Funny you should mention second chances. So did Michael in her "this is what we are" speech at the end.

"Some say that in life, there are no second chances.
Experience tells me that this is true."

She just got the biggest second chance ever! Just a head scratcher there.

"Sarek apparently signed off on the destruction of Kronos (off-screen, of course). This strikes me as wrong on so many levels."

I'll give him some room here. He said "What the Federation chose to do on Kronos was unprincipled, and I had a part in it."

I guess we don't know exactly what "a part" means. I know I'm hoping here, but it is Sarak... I would hope the writers would realize that. I'm hoping Sarak is just being hard on himself.

"If it sounds like I'm retroactively blaming the faults of the season, which I found fairly acceptable as it was airing, on the events in this finale — well, yeah. The destination reveals much less than was promised, and all the weekly action and cliffhangers up to that point, while entertaining and well-executed, dissolve away into a disappointingly substance-free experience."

My thoughts exactly. After all the effort to get there, the "there" fell short - so sadly, the whole season left a bad taste in my mouth.

Not unlike nuBSG.

Great review Jammer.

If I can suggest a series to dive into.... how about "The Expanse"?
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
"No, they're a nostalgic money grab by hacks."

This.
Trek fan
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer -- Dare we hope that this limited review project will be your long-awaited coverage of Star Trek the Animated Series? With only about 22 episodes running roughly 25 minutes each, you would easily have enough time to dig into it at your leisure before the next Orville/Discovery seasons. And the multiple TOS/Discovery tie-ins contained in TAS might be a quite fitting transition between seasons.
Iceman
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
Fantastic review Jammer! I have to say I agree. The writers were clearly trying to give this season meaning and substance, but it was undone by the fact that it's built on such a hollow foundation. Hopefully they construct a solid plot next season instead of furiously burning through it in an attempt to not be boring.

PS-If you do take on a project during the hiatus, The Expanse is worth checking out. It'd be a pretty great fit for the site.
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
"Not to my knowledge. I don't recall it EVER being discussed. It's said -- over and over again -- that Michael bears responsibility for the war, but the exact reasons why she bears that responsibility are never discussed."

Exactly. Notice how even Jammer forgets the murder and focuses on the mutiny. I think that in the script, Michael was acting in self defence, or somehow protecting Georgiou. Or perhaps the script itself does not know about the "stun" setting on the phaser, but that detail was added later by someone else?

I truly believe the murder simply did not happen as far as this story's master plan, that its portrayal was a mistake. I don't know much about how these scripts go from paper to screen but I think I am right about this.
Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
@Tim

The person who came up with a plan that virtually ensured war no matter what the Federation did was T'Kuvma.

If the Federation asserted its basic right to exist, he was well prepared to spin it as aggression. The only thing he would not consider aggression was running away, which if they'd gone that route I'm sure he would have easily used as evidence that they were cowards who deserved to be attacked. It was a total Catch 22 constructed by him.


He invaded Federation space and destroyed Federation equipment, guaranteeing that a ship would come to see what was going on(if only to repair their communications array and find out what had happened to it), then initiated a standoff by acting in a threatening, irrational manner, refusing to leave or talk sense.

Then he summoned a bunch of Klingon ships with a sacred signal that made them duty bound to come. The arrival of these Klingon ships made an already tense situation worse and necessitated the summoning of Starfleet ships.

It was an elaborate plot on his part to instigate war. It didn't require his survival or continued leadership for a war to be the most likely outcome. Michael did try to fire first but was stopped. Nothing she did caused the apocalyptic battle which happened because he had the intention to fire first if they didn't.

As a sovereign state they would have had every right to fire anyway after fair warning, though it was wise to be as cool-headed as possible and wasn't Michael's call.
Jammer
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
@Trek fan: Let the speculation begin!
Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
[Continued]
I actually don't agree with a full pardon as she did commit serious crimes. But blaming her for the war was pure scapegoating in the first place.

Try to construct a scenario where that battle didn't happen assuming the Federation made any attempt to assert its territorial rights and assuming the other Houses didn't stop or abandon T'Kuvma.
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
@Ed

The BATTLE was going to happen regardless. The WAR was avoidable if Michael had carried out her mission, which was to humiliate T'Kuvma by bringing him back to the Federation in chains, presumably to stand trial for his crimes against the Federation.

The plan was her creation, but she abandoned it, in favor of murdering him with a kill shot to the back, thus making him a martyr, an action that she herself predicted would start the war. Otherwise it goes down in history as yet another skirmish between the Klingons and the Federation, something consistent with Trek history, not a destructive war that nearly saw the demise of the Federation yet somehow escaped mention through 50+ years of Trek history.....

Bottom line, the war is Michael's fault.
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
@Jason

"Or perhaps the script itself does not know about the "stun" setting on the phaser, but that detail was added later by someone else?"

The scene, as I recall it, has an SFX that I interpreted as Michael flipping her phaser from stun to kill. She sees Georgiou get killed, pauses for a split second, flips her weapon to kill, and shoots T'Kuvma in the back. It's portrayed as a deliberate choice on her part, which is HUGE, this is character defining stuff, but they never re-visit it again.

Understand that in that moment the mission was accomplished. All Michael has to do is stun T'Kuvma, walk over, and beam out with him and Georgiou. Mission accomplished, the war is avoided, and there's someone to hold accountable for the crimes committed against the Federation. Fuck man, we don't even know that Georgiou is dead, Picard survived a knife through the heart, but Michael sees her get STABBED (not shot mind you, stabbed) and immediately throws the mission away.

atoz
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Trek fan said: "Dare we hope that this limited review project will be your long-awaited coverage of Star Trek the Animated Series?"


Yes, please.
Thomas
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
For this limited review project, I would have to agree TAS is a good idea - solely for completionism and given that it (deservedly) had such a short run. In terms of the site as a whole, as far as space sci-fi goes the only remaining "must see" shows left are Farscape and B5 (no, I don't regard Firefly as essential). But they are big projects and would take a lot more effort.
Idolwild
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
Heh, I left the following feedback on CBS (you can send feedback on any show which I think is kinda neat).
——
Seriously, and I mean this as a friend to Star Trek, fire the entire writing staff and get new people in. Gorgeous show, fine actors, atrocious writing.
Mertov
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, yet another excellent review down to the details. Thanks for all of them throughout the season. I hope your plan for a limited review, whatever it may be, materializes to your satisfaction.
___________

My favorite three episodes of the season:
Into the Forest I Go ----- Lethe ----- The War Without, The War Within

Worst three:
Will You Take My Hand ----- The Butcher's Knife Cares not For the Lamb's Cry ----- Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
@Idolwild, "Seriously, and I mean this as a friend to Star Trek, fire the entire writing staff and get new people in. Gorgeous show, fine actors, atrocious writing."

That's very fair. :)
Ian Whitcombe
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
A few interesting Jammer Review stats:

The last chronological season finale that Jammer recommended was "The Expanse" from ENT season two.

Enterprise's "Damage" from 2004 is the most recent entry in the Star Trek canon to earn four stars.

Only season of Trek to have only one stand-out (3.5 stars or higher) entry. The two reviewed Andromeda seasons share that record.

This season of Discovery is tied with the first season of DS9 to have the lowest amount of losers in a single season: 2 two-star episodes and none below two-stars.
Jammer
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
I would take the ratings stats with a grain of salt. The ratings are far from scientific or consistent across the different series, and the serialized/cliffhanger nature of Discovery often makes the ratings a problematic exercise.
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:02am (UTC -5)
@ Trent,

"But the revelation of the Enterprise at the end of this episode suggests that Discovery's writer's room already has another convoluted arc planned out. Such an approach might continue to be a very restrictive thing." I'll bet you anything they have *nothing* planned. The standard strategy here is to create a hook and kick the can on who'll have to make something of it. This is the MO not only of this series but of NuSW as well. Rian Johnson said so of SW outright - they had nothing, absolutely nothing planned. All of the 'mysteries' were laid on his lap to move along. Ironically the best thing about Ep 8 is that he appears to have said f**k it and didn't bother addressing most of it. But the majority of DISC S1 seems to smack of the same - each week ends without much of an idea of how to resolve anything. Clearly they did plan some clues that they peppered around (except some were red herrings like the Tribbles) but despite the vain hopes by some that they had a master plan all long they clearly did not. It's the first rule of marketing: make promises first and worry about your product once you've got them. Or as I call it, scamming people.

@ Jason R.

"I truly believe the murder simply did not happen as far as this story's master plan, that its portrayal was a mistake. I don't know much about how these scripts go from paper to screen but I think I am right about this."

I have a different theory: they went so far to left field trying to be edgy and dark in the pilot that after they fact they realized that the murder of T'Kuvma was irredeemable and could never be explained to the audience as being a well-meaning error. It was murder in cold blood, and no coming back from it. So they chose to simply pretend it had never happened and never mention it again, effectively retconning the events of the pilot as of the very next episode. I agree with you that it was an error on their part, but one that at the time they certainly intended. They were just too clueless about Trek morals to realize that such a despicable act wouldn't ever be acceptable in a Trek setting for a character that we're supposed to respect. So they just dropped it from their canon and that's that.

@ Jammer,

Speculation on: Firefly and TAS are both good and short choices. TAS would be good for completionism but many people rave about Firefly and it's a light show overall, which might make for good watching. I'll pick the dark horse and guess Firefly will be it.
J.B.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:54am (UTC -5)
I agree with others that "The Expanse" would make for a great reviewing project but will admit that TAS is probably more thematically appropriate.

(And I've never seen it so I could watch along with the reviews, haha.)
Gul Densho-Ar
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 1:21am (UTC -5)
@Jammer

Great review, thanks! Will there be a season recap?
Jammer
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 1:27am (UTC -5)
No. The "season recap" is contained in this review. :)
Gul Densho-Ar
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 1:30am (UTC -5)
Feared as much :(

But thanks :)
Artymiss
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:48am (UTC -5)
Can someone please email Jammer's review to the writing team?!

Re Tyler: for what it's worth on After Trek the production team said that Tyler would be in season 2, also the green spore that landed on Tilly would be significant. They declined to comment on any other plot queries.

Does anyone know if the season 1 was originally going to have more episodes? Then for whatever they discovered they had to wrap it up in 15. This would go part way to explaining the undue haste of this final episode.
Amaris
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 3:55am (UTC -5)
I figure that the writers were handed a goose egg by Bryan Fuller, who started building a grand vision, and then just left with the scaffolding and half the foundation remaining to be built. The writers filled in the holes, and did as much as they could, but they had to work with the frame already built, because it would have been impossible to start from scratch after they were already committed to the project as it was at that point.

I think they did the best they could with what they had, and to be honest I enjoyed it. Sure, there are holes big enough to drive a starship through, but it's all wrapped up now, and they can really start to create a great universe for us by next season.

Also, Tilly ate space whale. I laughed.
Booming
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 5:27am (UTC -5)
This was a bad one.
It almost feels like I have somehow missed 30 minutes of the plot.
When I saw how long the episode was I thought: Man, that is short." Indeed...

Jason R.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 5:40am (UTC -5)
"I have a different theory: they went so far to left field trying to be edgy and dark in the pilot that after they fact they realized that the murder of T'Kuvma was irredeemable and could never be explained to the audience as being a well-meaning error. It was murder in cold blood, and no coming back from it. So they chose to simply pretend it had never happened and never mention it again, effectively retconning the events of the pilot as of the very next episode. I agree with you that it was an error on their part, but one that at the time they certainly intended. They were just too clueless about Trek morals to realize that such a despicable act wouldn't ever be acceptable in a Trek setting for a character that we're supposed to respect. So they just dropped it from their canon and that's that."

I guess we will never know Peter. But honestly, that scene doesn't play like a murder in my mind.

What it seems like is the mission goes sideways and Michael, partly in shock at seeing her mentor stabbed, shoots the man WHO IS IN THE PROCESS of stabbing her and is still attacking her.

Imagine a real life situation where a man is on top of your friend stabbing that friend as you watch. You take out your gun and shoot him in the back. Murder? Absolutely not! You are legally justified to save your friend, even if your friend might be doomed by this point. Using deadly force to stop a brutal attack on another isn't murder! Georgiou was still alive!

But that is what it would be in a world where "stun" settings don't exist. That is how the scene makes most sense to me - which is why I hypothesize that someone at some point in the creative process didn't know about the stun setting or didn't appreciate its implication.

I agree that Michael's act is undeniably murder in this context, but I really have a hard time accepting that was intended, regardless of what was shown on screen. I think this was a mistake in more ways than one. Signals crossed? The left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing? Someone adding the stun setting to kill setting change after the fact to fix the continuity problem of Michael killing a man with a phaser set to stun but inadvertantly turning their series protagonist into a murderer?
Karl Zimmerman
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Jammer,

I see you consider this to also be the season recap post. Does that mean you're going to be retrospectively downgrading some of your ratings, as you have in the past?

I agree with others that The Expanse would be the most logical series to review in the downtime. Not only because it's the best (although still modestly flawed) space opera on TV currently, but also because similar to BSG and Andromeda, it has a Trek connection (Naren Shankar is one of the showrunners). Though I'm also curious if you'd like Altered Carbon.
Yanks
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 8:10am (UTC -5)
Mertov
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -6)

"Two people I have never heard of before, one of them Korean, wrote the best episode of the season (in my opinion of course) "Into the Forest I Go.""

Truth. Funny, how a "non-trekkie" does the best work. Same thing could be said of the director for TWoK.

Break...

I major complaint I had with the last two episodes (especially the last) was IT WAS TOO FRAKIN DARK!!!! There were times when I couldn't make out the characters. Good god man, brighten things up!!!
NCC-1701-Z
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 8:59am (UTC -5)
So I heard some of my friends who actually watched the season (I bowed out after ep 2) and liked it complaining for a long time about the finale. A good portion of them are ready to quit the series altogether unless they hear really good things about season 2. But then again, TNG had a bad first season as well.

Here's hoping Discovery shapes up in season 2 and goes the way of TNG instead of Andromeda. In the meantime, I'm seriously considering giving Orville a second chance.
Nievesg
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:25am (UTC -5)
@plain simple:
I recall commander "Trip" Tucker was called "Captain" at ENT in a couple of episodes, when he was in command as "acting captain", although his real rank was still a commander.

I guess the same applies to Saru at the MU episodes. A pity Saru wasn't promoted to real captain rank, he really earned it.
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Re: Captain Saru

"I recall commander "Trip" Tucker was called "Captain" at ENT in a couple of episodes, when he was in command as "acting captain", although his real rank was still a commander.

I guess the same applies to Saru at the MU episodes. A pity Saru wasn't promoted to real captain rank, he really earned it."

Whoever is in command of a naval vessel is called Captain, regardless of their rank. This also includes non-military vessels.
KT
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:41am (UTC -5)
@Ed
"It established the Klingons as we came to know and love them (glory! battle!),"

In TOS "errand of mercy" Kor wants to go to war and when stopped by the Orangians says "it would have been glorious"
Chrome
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:42am (UTC -5)
"Yeah, Voyage Home is audience friendly, but it's not pandering. It doesn't give audiences what they think they want. And its interesting; I can't think of another film about stealing whales and dragging them from the past to the future in order to save humanity. And Meyer and Nimoy's ("I wanted no dying, no fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical bad guys.") refusal to write any kind of conventional violence is not something audiences typically flock to."

Well, despite Meyer and Nimoy's wishes, I'm pretty sure there were guns at the naval base and I think they even confiscated a phaser? And I don't know about you, but I certainly would want Spock to come Vulcan nerve pinch some obnoxious people on the bus for me. But I agree that this was a feel good movie that could only be made in the 1980s and would probably only gross well in the 1980s. I don't imagine the next Trek movie is going to be anywhere this lighthearted, I just hope they learned something from ST: Nemesis...
Del_Duio
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:48am (UTC -5)
I canceled my CBS-AA subscription but will likely re-up it after you guys give a few of S2's shows a viewing. I'm hopeful it'll get better, but I don't think I want to pay for another middling season if it continues like this. And I'm not paying $10 a month until 2019 whenever where the only other alternatives are Young Sheldon and CSI: Downtown lower east side Tokyo crap haha.

This is a real shame, as finally I have the opportunity to watch a first-run Trek with my kids, and this is what we got.

I listed my reason of cancelling and 'other' and let them know, albeit in a nice way. In the meantime, we always have old DS9 and TNG to rewatch. :)
Del_Duio
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:54am (UTC -5)
@Peter G:

"TAS would be good for completionism but many people rave about Firefly and it's a light show overall, which might make for good watching. I'll pick the dark horse and guess Firefly will be it."

YEAH! I love Firefly, Jammer you should totally do this! You could include Serenity too. Talk about an awesome ensemble cast where everybody gets a chance to shine. Browncoats, ahoy!
Filip
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 10:01am (UTC -5)
This episode perfectly embodies and reflects everything wrong with this show – and then takes it to a whole new level. Since I have discussed all of the show’s issues in length in previous threads, I am not going to repeat the same points here, but will instead offer a brief overview of the season as a whole. I also want to put this out because Jammer and a lot of other commenters seem to be much more forgiving than I am.

Despite all of the issues that arose even before the premiere, such as the appearance of Klingons and advanced visuals, I really wanted to like this show and for it to be good. I didn’t mind the holographic communication, the holodeck-like shooting exercises and all other elements deemed too “advanced” for a pre-TOS era series, because come on, it’s 2017/2018 and one cannot really expect a show to purposefully limit itself to 50 years old outdated tech.

But when it came to the most important element, it failed miserably. I am, of course, talking about writing. I kept waiting for it to improve. Actually, I desperately wanted for it to improve so much that I was putting myself out there only to be disappointed again and again. And even though it had some rare moments that showed promise, overall, now that we’ve reached the end of the season, I can confidently say that it is very, very bad. The narrative quality of the show is almost non-existent and instead the writers relied on ludicrous twists and actions that sprang only out of the writers’ desire to attack the viewers’ senses in a profoundly vulgar way. I have said many times that inexplicable actions by some of the characters on this show were so obviously subjugated to the advancement of the plot, but now I can look at the wider picture and say that this advancement of the plot was subjugated precisely to that desire to shock and overwhelm the audience. Once I reached this conclusion, it became utterly pointless to call attention to all of the plot holes, nonsensical turns of events and contrived narratives.

Instead of it being interesting tech to be explored, the spore drive became the writers’ hand able to rearrange the in-universe pieces literally however they wanted it to. Except it wasn’t a hand, it was a clenched fist eager to punch you in your face.

Instead of it being an interesting backdrop to examining the qualities of our characters due to its chaotic qualities, the mirror universe became the foundation of a great deal of drama of the show that just straight out ripped those qualities out and shamelessly incorporated them into the main storyline.

In light of all this, the final speech about the nature of Starfleet was so unnaturally, so artificially, so forcibly glued on top of everything that it absolutely baffles me how anyone could buy it.

I am probably going to be back for season 2 to see if the writers’ considered any of the (valid) criticism aimed against the show, but seeing how they pride themselves in a job well done on After Trek and the entire self-congratulatory parade at the end of “Will You Take My Hand?”, my hopes are at an all-time low.
Dom
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 10:03am (UTC -5)
@NCC-1701-Z, I agree, it'd be good if Season 2 were better, but here's the problem: Discovery is serialized. When TNG came on the air, it was pretty common for shows to have a rough first season and get better over time. Writers were allowed time to grow and to work through some of the issues in the show. Barring a complete dud, most shows stayed on the air for several years and didn't face the constant pressure of cancellation. Moreover, with syndication, the writers weren't constantly trying to "hook" the audience with "shocking" plot twists.

With the turn of the century (around the time Lost aired), shows started getting more serialized. There is more competition on TV. Shows need to get people hooked immediately. This means writers have to start the show off well, otherwise it might get cancelled. Shows nowadays actually tend to start off relatively strong and, if anything, get worse over time (Lost, BSG, Game of Thrones all come to mind).

This is one of the reasons why I'm less forgiving of a bad first season on Discovery than I was for DS9 or even Voyager. I had more confidence that the writers would and could grow over time. I just don't think the market makes that likely for Discovery. I don't see how CBS gives the show room to grow into something great, while also using it to market their streaming service. I could be pleasantly surprised, but I wouldn't be surprised if Season 1 of Discovery is as good as it gets.
Jammer
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 10:45am (UTC -5)
To answer a few questions with no particular methodology:

@Karl: No, I won't be revising the ratings retrospectively. There's just little point in trying to figure out how the breakdown "should" have been and I'd rather they just stand for how I felt at the time. It do what it do.

@Plain Simple: If you're looking for Michelle Yeoh movies, perhaps an obvious place to start would be "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which was a big international mainstream (and Oscar-nominated) endeavor outside her action genre roots. (Watch it with the subtitles, not dubbed.)

@Artymiss: If memory serves, Discovery's first season was originally going to be 13 episodes, and they actually upped it to 15. So they had more episodes than originally planned. Either way, whether it's 13 or 15 or 10, that's plenty of episodes to tell a season-long arc. It's all about planning out the story and leaving out what's not necessary.

@Everybody:

The T'Kuvma killing is worth revisiting. I never commented much on it because I think I may have missed something. I am with others who say his death was clearly not intended by the storyline to be this big thing that Burnham did. I never noticed at the time that she specifically set the phaser from "stun" to "kill." I kind of read it as she shot him to stop him from further attacking Georgiou in the heat of the action. I fully admit that may be an incorrect reading.

Like a lot of things on this series, I think this partially stems from a failure of sloppiness by the producers. They didn't comment on it because they probably didn't intend it to be this big decision of "murder" even if that's how it was shot. I only watched the scene once and don't recall the exact shot selection, so I could simply have missed it. But I think the writers missed it too, or that it got changed on the set, or something, because it was never made out to be anything than something that happened in the middle of the action. Either way, I see that sloppiness or omission as being on the creators for making it unclear, or not following it up with dialogue.

Also, @Everyone: I'm not actively taking solicitations on what to review next. You are free to submit them for fun, but the series has already been decided, if I can figure out how and when to make it happen.

Lest everyone think Discovery's reception is universal doom and gloom, there are some positive reviews out there by respected critics who have thought this through. Notably, this one from Matt Zoller Seitz:

http://www.vulture.com/2018/02/star-trek-discovery-season-1-finale-review.html
Ed
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 10:58am (UTC -5)
@Dom

Do you think Season 2 will be quite as serialized? It seems to me like they're setting it up to be a show about taking on duties and assignments as needed by Starfleet like a normal peacetime ship.

There's plenty of room for stories set on various planets which they could develop wonderfully with their budget. Maybe develop these exploration stories in more detail with two-part episodes.

Make Emperor Georgiou a fun recurring villain a couple of times like Mudd in the original. Have Mudd himself make one appearance, maybe.

Don't have them involved with the same criminal conspiracy, though. There's no way she'd let him live. :) If he's too much of a cliché to bring in, then let MU Tilly turn up as a ruthless smuggler somewhere. Maybe she was able to get to a shuttle in time.
Trent
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 11:16am (UTC -5)
"The Moral Lesson of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’: We Should Use Super Weapons To Install Despots in Foreign Nations"

Anyone read this? :

https://crudereviews.net/2018/02/13/the-moral-lesson-of-star-trek-discovery-we-should-use-super-weapons-to-install-despots-in-foreign-nations/
Gee
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
@Filip
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I couldn't agree more. But here's to hoping this crazy storyline was left over from Fuller's input and things will be different in s2, when maybe the show will be less frantic about creating twists.
Chrome
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer

Thanks for the link; that pretty much sums up my feelings about what this series has done right so far. DSC should be proud of some things it's done as a new Trek series, and chief among those was making a compelling and original screenplay. One would think that now that the chaos behind that scenes has had a chance to settle, they'll be able to make a more consistent show from here on out, but I suppose time will tell!
Markus
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom:
"Maybe in 20 years we'll find out that CBS was also dictating to the Discovery writer's room and that the problems this first season were all the result of some behind the scenes chaos. However, from how the writers have talked about the show on After Trek and on Twitter, it seems like this IS the show they wanted to write. THAT worries me."

Exactly again. They had the budget, they had lots of extra-time, and so forth. But probably they had too many audiences they wanted to please. But still, this awful "After Trek"-self-congratulatory posture seems to indicate they actually like their work. It is not their fault alone - I would also blame media noise and the burden of legacy. Still - the constant promises of great reveals on Twitter and Trek-news pages never paid off. Even the shock reveals were hardly shocking when on screen. Shocking alone was the sloppiness and mediocrity of the writing (some things were mentioned in the review).

I only wished they had realized the anthology-idea and would give another team another chance...
Yanks
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
Just had a thought about that last "speech" scene.

I would have been 10 times more effective had they shot it like the episode began. Michael narrating, with the crew getting their promotions/medals on screen. Michael could even be standing with them.

I know she's not the greatest narrator, but that still would have been better than what we got.

Dom
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
@Ed, I have no idea. In Season 1, it seemed like the writers made it serialized because it's the "cool thing to do" in TV nowadays, not because they had a compelling story that needed to be serialized. As Jammer noted in his review, it really doesn't look like they planned all of this out carefully in advance.

I'd love a more episodic Season 2, but I'm doubtful we'll get it for one reason: CBS All Access. The CBS subscription model requires that viewers subscribe right when the season starts all the way to the end. The way to do that is by getting viewers "hooked" with a big twist or cliffhanger at the end of each episode. CBS needs that social media buzz to get people excited and think they have to watch Discovery RIGHT NOW. CBS doesn't want people to think they can just stream all of the episodes at the end of the season and only pay for one month, which would be much easier with a more episodic show. So, no, I really see no reason why Discovery would become more episodic in Season 2. My guess is there will be some big mystery in the first episode of Season 2 that will be the through line, with perhaps a few tangential adventures along the way.
Chrome
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

To be fair, there were several arcs going throughout the season that were concluded like with "Into the Forest I Go" capping off the encounter with the sarcophagus ship or the MU arc with "What's Past is Prologue". If the little two minute hooks were what kept one watching, I think the blame lies partially on the viewer. Personally, I became numb to the hooks quickly. And sometimes the hooks weren't even really that suspenseful, like the Captain Georgiou one at the last episode which didn't surprise since we knew Georgiou had Starfleet's blessing to serve them somehow before that scene happened.

And there were stand-alone episodes like "Magic Makes the Sanest Man Go Mad" and "Lethe" which didn't really require you to be invested in the series to enjoy. So, the serialization thus far hasn't entirely dominated the storytelling.
Dom
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, I agree that the hooks weren't effective. I found most of them to be cringe-inducingly obvious ploys to hook consumers. I've already decided I've done my fair part as a Trek fan and won't be watching Season 2. I was just explaining the business logic behind how the show is structured. Not every episode will be Game of Thrones level of serialization, but even Lethe relied heavily upon continuity points from previous episodes (who is Ash, Sarek's relationship with Burnham, etc). I don't see any reason Discovery would ever go TNG levels of episodic TV. We might get something like Enterprise's Season 4 with a bunch of mini-arcs, but even then CBS will be sure to have some hook or overarching mystery throughout the season to make sure viewers come back.
Tim
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
https://youtu.be/lYOIF9JzyFQ

That’s the fight scene. They’ve got phasers on stun (blue light) throughout the scene, until Michael sees Philippa stabbed. She picks her weapon up (still blue), flips it to kill (red), and shoots him in the back.

I don’t know any other way to read this scene than a deliberate choice to kill him. This could be a post production mistake but I don’t think so, not when they’re using stun throughout the fight up to that point. Peter nails it:

“I have a different theory: they went so far to left field trying to be edgy and dark in the pilot that after they fact they realized that the murder of T'Kuvma was irredeemable and could never be explained to the audience as being a well-meaning error. It was murder in cold blood, and no coming back from it. So they chose to simply pretend it had never happened and never mention it again, effectively retconning the events of the pilot as of the very next episode. I agree with you that it was an error on their part, but one that at the time they certainly intended. They were just too clueless about Trek morals to realize that such a despicable act wouldn't ever be acceptable in a Trek setting for a character that we're supposed to respect. So they just dropped it from their canon and that's that.”

Tim
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
Just to add on what Peter says, this is not only unacceptable with Trek morals, it would be unacceptable with modern day morals, to use deadly force when you have a completely safe and completely effective less-than-deadly option available.

It’s even worse when you consider that this was basically a military mission. Imagine for a moment that the Seal Team who took out Bin Laden was ordered to take him alive at all costs. He somehow manages to get the drop on one of the team members and kills him. A second member sees this, drops his already aimed taser, draws a pistol, and shoots him in the back of the head.

That’s essentially what Michael did.
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
I do agree with Jason R, though, that the way it was shot (having now watched it again) it's possible the writer sort of intended it to be that Michael was trying to save Georgiou in a moment of desperation. The phaser shot does happen very quickly after the stabbing. However on the production side they made the detailing of the phaser being switched to kill pretty clear, and there is Michael's desperate (sort-of) looking face, to the extent that SMG was capable of portraying it. To be honest they probably wanted her to look even more desperate than that but that's all she could get out when they shot it.

I could see an argument that they intended to show it as an animal, emotional, and unconsidered response, rather than premeditated murder, and in my opinion that sort of reaction would be in keeping with her character as portrayed through the whole season. But that doesn't change the fact that botching her mission by killing a guy doesn't seem to be something that can be explained away as "I was wrong about that" since it isn't an idea she had that was incorrect. It was more like she behaved like an animal and if that's the sort of person she is - who will mentally break down when things are bad - then she has no place in Starfleet under any circumstances. And actually that's my general takeaway from the entire season, so the pilot is consistent with this. But that's not the story they wanted to tell, clearly, so I think they swept this killing under the rug because they didn't want to have to deal with two different redemption issues. Mutiny is bad enough without having to address the fact that she's also mentally a loose canon, so they dropped the latter outright.
Tim
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Frankly, I find these “redemption” arcs in sci-fi to be a tiresome cliche. Michael is responsible for a war that presumably kills millions. There’s no redeeming that. It’s the same story with the Darth Vader; he was redeemable, after a fashion, if all you saw was the Original Trilogy. When you see the Prequels though, he’s a child murdering psychopath, and you don’t get to wash away crimes like his simply by throwing Space Hilter down a shaft.

The Pegasus told a more plausible story of personal redemption, Riker coming to terms with an old mistake and atoning for it, but still being said to pay a price for it. Ensign Ro had a redemption arc of sorts too, which was more believable than Michael’s.
Ed
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
@KT

"In TOS "errand of mercy" Kor wants to go to war and when stopped by the Orangians says "it would have been glorious"

True, there were a few things like that foreshadowing what would later develop more explicitly.

"It would have been glorious....like that time ten years ago." :)
KT
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
@Ed
I just love the canon, when it fits it really fits! :D
Troy G
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
My suggestion on a review project:

Review South Park, all episodes.
David
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:03am (UTC -5)
My vote goes to Days of our Lives. Only 12,000 episodes - come on Jammer, do it!
Filip
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:05am (UTC -5)
@Gee

It's my pleasure and thank you for reading. I always found this site to be pure gold with many valuable insights and civilised discussions, something you don't come accross so often these days so I am happy to participate. If it wasn't for this safe haven it is quite possible that I would've quit Discovery mid season.
JohnTY
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Nice review Jammer. Though reading it, I'm not sure where the 2 stars come from. You've basically criticised everything about the episode.
Del_Duio
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Maybe it'll be "Maury" lol.

Jammer: 'In this episode, he WAS the father!! 4 stars, did not see that coming.'
Ed
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 8:18am (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed the Blade Runner visual references and feel like adapting BR dialogue and additional imagery to the setting. Feel free to start in.

--A Bird of Prey flies by a giant electronic billboard.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 8:22am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
"I do agree with Jason R, though, that the way it was shot (having now watched it again) it's possible the writer sort of intended it to be that Michael was trying to save Georgiou in a moment of desperation. The phaser shot does happen very quickly after the stabbing."

Yeah, it's not murder

"However on the production side they made the detailing of the phaser being switched to kill pretty clear, and there is Michael's desperate (sort-of) looking face, to the extent that SMG was capable of portraying it. To be honest they probably wanted her to look even more desperate than that but that's all she could get out when they shot it."

An unfortunate all to common theme in Discovery I'm afraid.

I could see an argument that they intended to show it as an animal, emotional, and unconsidered response, rather than premeditated murder, and in my opinion that sort of reaction would be in keeping with her character as portrayed through the whole season. But that doesn't change the fact that botching her mission by killing a guy doesn't seem to be something that can be explained away as "I was wrong about that" since it isn't an idea she had that was incorrect. It was more like she behaved like an animal and if that's the sort of person she is - who will mentally break down when things are bad - then she has no place in Starfleet under any circumstances. And actually that's my general takeaway from the entire season, so the pilot is consistent with this. But that's not the story they wanted to tell, clearly, so I think they swept this killing under the rug because they didn't want to have to deal with two different redemption issues. Mutiny is bad enough without having to address the fact that she's also mentally a loose canon, so they dropped the latter outright.
Dom
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 8:37am (UTC -5)
@JohnTY, that also confused me. I took the 2 stars more as a retrospective review of the entire season, which seems appropriate given his prior reviews and what he says here. 2 stars for this episode seems very generous given the actual contents of the review.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 8:41am (UTC -5)
@Tim
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
"Frankly, I find these “redemption” arcs in sci-fi to be a tiresome cliche. Michael is responsible for a war that presumably kills millions. There’s no redeeming that."

Don't agree. She is in no way responsible for the war. One could say that PU G not following her recommendation in "Vulcan Hello" is the one responsible. *but that's a huge stretch) The first Klingon she killed was in self defense (torch bearer) and it was T'Kuvma's aggression (we come in peace) that started the war.

She is responsible for the attempted mutiny. Nothing more. The only thing she really changed was that the Klingons weren't "unified" in their war effort.

"The Pegasus told a more plausible story of personal redemption, Riker coming to terms with an old mistake and atoning for it, but still being said to pay a price for it. Ensign Ro had a redemption arc of sorts too, which was more believable than Michael’s."

I liked the Ro story but I still have problems with Rikers "I was right out of school" excuse. Bull... something should have happened to him. Hell, Picard sent a newbie ENS crawling back into Star Fleet to her death because she made the wrong decision early in her career. What did Riker have to prove?
Jrpl
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 11:02am (UTC -5)
If I have one small nitpick about nuTrek it's how the ships fire dozens of shots at a time. It makes them feel like fighter jets. I realize the Defiant started us down this road, but it was the one thing during the 09 Trek movie where I was like, "hmmm". I realize it's done to keep up with modern sensibilities, but it was kind of awful looking. On the other end of the spectrum, I really liked the physicality of the new hand phasers.

But that's all window dressing at the end of the day. As for the rest, as long as it's consistent with its own internal logic, I'm willing to follow down whatever path it leads. As long as magic blood isn't involved ;)

I'm not keen on the redisgn of the klingon look. Though I'm fine with them tweaking the personality of them. Klingons in Berman Trek became more and more cartoonish and buffonish outside of Worf and B'Elanna as the seasons and shows and movies wore on. I'm happy to see anything that makes them feel like a real threat again. As I stated earlier, I haven't seen any eps of Discovery yet, so I've no idea if the new show accomplishes this. Yet...
Ed
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -5)
@Yanks
"Don't agree. She is in no way responsible for the war. One could say that PU G not following her recommendation in "Vulcan Hello" is the one responsible. *but that's a huge stretch) The first Klingon she killed was in self defense (torch bearer) and it was T'Kuvma's aggression (we come in peace) that started the war.
She is responsible for the attempted mutiny. Nothing more. The only thing she really changed was that the Klingons weren't "unified" in their war effort. "

--I agree with you. While there have been arguments that the war wouldn't have gotten off the ground without T'Kuvma as a "martyr", I don't think so. He set it up so that all the Houses would be involved in the initial battle and have something to prove and people to avenge. Plus hardly anyone outside his own following liked or respected him.

Also, even though most of the other leaders weren't so into the idea of war with the Federation at first, they were unlikely to pass up the opportunity for glory and conquest once they have a war served to them on a platter. A Klingon lord wouldn't want to be the only person he knows arguing for peace.

The show has a weird philosophy about the supposed advantages of disunity. Without central leadership, their strategies would be extremely primitive in the long run and without backing each other up and sharing resources, weaker Houses would be picked off easily.

There was a perfect opportunity to show the war as gradually destroying the dis-unified Klingons , even if they seemed to be winning for the time being due to courage, suicide tactics and the advantage having already destroyed so many Federation ships while still having the advantage of effective cloaking.

L'Rell should have been able to point out that this wild frenzy of destruction can't last much longer, even if they do destroy the Federation before they destroy themselves. At best, there would be 24 (or so)states left that would end up fighting each other or being conquered by the Romulans.

I'm piecing together my own head canon of how she really took over (with the canonical planet-killer as a major advantage, of course but not sufficient in itself) based on these political observations and the fact that she was a member of an interesting House of spies and assassins who could make life pretty hard for her rivals.
Dom
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 11:47am (UTC -5)
@Ed, you're putting more thought into the Klingon War than the writers of the show ever did. I agree, they really missed an opportunity to have a more subtle wrap up of the war. Relying on a super bomb was beyond lazy.

@Jrpl, about the Berman Klingons... sure, they could go overboard at times, but they weren't supposed to be a threat. I think we were supposed to see them as fun as opposed to threatening. Also, Martok is one of the best Klingons ever in Trek. He's got a sense of humor and fun, but also a warrior ethic and a temper.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
"The show has a weird philosophy about the supposed advantages of disunity. Without central leadership, their strategies would be extremely primitive in the long run and without backing each other up and sharing resources, weaker Houses would be picked off easily."

I think the disunity leads to guerrilla tactics which the Federation isn't good at handling. I'm sure there's an allegory to US forces in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, which were fairly organized when fighting, but were prone to sniping, sabotage, and unpredictable suicide raids which pushed the larger organized front back. And if there's one thing we know about Klingons, organized or not, they're very good at savage warfare.
Bufo
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
I think all of you misunderstand what ST:D actually is. It was amusing reading the mostly negative reviews here torching this show, but you all seem to have missed the fact that ST:D is itself slash and burn television. The people running this show have no interest in Trek or who this guy Roddenberry was. Their marching orders were simple - we own this brand that has some PR reach, and we need to launch our streaming service. Period. We don't give a fuck what you produce in ST:D, so long as it has the brand name stamped on it in a couple of places. Because the brand is famous but our streaming service has a limited reach, far more people will read articles online about the property than will actually view or care about the property. So, titrate the amount of effort you put into the show accordingly.
Dom
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, again, you're giving this show and the writers WAY too much credit. When did they ever hint that the Klingons were using guerrilla tactics? In fact, they did the opposite. They showed a fleet of ships flying towards Earth in the last episode. The ships were just flying right out in the open towards their target. That's pretty much as conventional as you can get when it comes to warfare.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Off the top of my head, wanton killing of civilians in order to achieve a military goal is an indication of guerrilla tactics. I don't think it's giving the writers too much credit, as there's some obvious parallels in the story between Klingons to terrorist groups and the Federation to Western forces.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

You're doing what I sometimes do for ST series, which is to create head canon to go along with what the show portrayed. That's nice, but don't give them any credit for your imagination.

"Off the top of my head, wanton killing of civilians in order to achieve a military goal is an indication of guerrilla tactics."

The Dominion slaughtered civilians all the time, and they were exactly the opposite of a guerrilla force. Let's face it: the throw-in of the Klingons now being dis-unified was never born out in a real difference and the story really had no stake in that reality. We never got the Klingon VOP past the first 2-3 episodes, never saw what their culture was like, and never saw what it meant *for them* to be 24 separate houses. Were they destroying each other as much as the Federation? Were they even more dangerous than before, less dangerous? No word on any of that. We know they used suicidal tactics but that fact exists outside of their political situation; that's just a Klingon thing. The Klingons were mostly irrelevant to the story, and served only as a vehicle for Michael to triumph in glory. Contrast with a single two-parter in TNG (with the aid of two previous episodes) where we get an entire mini-arc about Klingon politics that is about the Klingons, not about the Federation.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
I'm really not adding anything, just using the words from the show. It just sounds like you both have more qualifiers than I think are necessary to show the use of guerrilla tactics. The Dominion example given above is different because, in this show, the disunity of the Klingon forces and the slaughtering of civilians were mentioned in the same scene by Admiral Cornwell depicting the grimness of the war. Thus, the deductive conclusion is that the events are causally linked. Maybe some people would've liked more details and - that's fine - but you should understand at the same time that some us prefer to sacrifice some details to keep good pacing.
Tim
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks “Don't agree. She is in no way responsible for the war.”

How do you figure? She killed T’Kuvma. She herself said that such an action would make him into a martyr and guarantee that the Klingons would pick up the banner. She guaranteed the war when she decided to flip her phaser to kill and shoot him in the back. If she stuns him and brings him back to the Federation in chains he’s humiliated, to Klingons go back to their internal squabbles, and the war is avoided.

I don’t understand why this is even a discussion. It’s all right there, in dialogue.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

The statement in question that was said to be more detail than the writers even intended was this:

"I think the disunity leads to guerrilla tactics which the Federation isn't good at handling. I'm sure there's an allegory to US forces in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq,"

There are actually three separate claims here. The first is that the Klingons are using guerrilla tactics, which isn't in evidence from the episode. Your reason for thinking so was that they were attacking civilians, but as I showed that doesn't follow since the Dominion did the same. And for that matter so did the Gorn in TOS, and plenty of other races who were clearly just attacking openly.

The second claim is that, assuming guerrilla tactics were being used - which why would they, since the Klingons were outright winning in a shooting war - that the Federation wasn't good at handling them. I wish we knew either way, since we neither know how the Federation was handling the unified Klingons, nor the disunified ones. From Discovery's POV we basically only get the occasional rumor as to how the war is going, usually over voiceover, and certainly don't know what's going right or wrong for the Federation, other than they're 'doing badly'. So the idea that a disunified Klingon assault is harder for the Federation to deal with than a joint strategy is your head canon at work, especially since it doesn't particularly make sense anyhow. If that was true then modern armies would be inferior to disparate guerrilla squads...so why have armies at all, right?

The third assertion is that there is an intended allusion here to some recent military actions involving the U.S. That is interpretive and certainly a fine sort of analysis to make, but nothing in the show gives us any clue or hint that they're making a direct parallel with any of these. Even the vague supposition that the Klingons are supposed to be like terrorists is speculative as far as I'm concerned because a bit of Islamic decor on T'Kuvma's ship and a speech about keeping Klingon culture pure doesn't translate to me into a direct parallel with anyone in the Mid-East or with the Viet Cong. To whit the U.S. hasn't been in combat with a people lately who had this particular view of racial purity; maybe the Nazis, but after that I don't think so. So any direct parallel with a modern military action seems to me a stretch. One you're free to make, but not one directly implied by the scripting of the show.

What I'm trying to do is not to take down your opinion or your analysis, but rather to help distinguish between what I see as your imaginative work from what is actually spoken in the words from the show, as you put it. In the case of what is generally agreed upon as sloppy scripting (even by the people who enjoy it) I don't think it's reasonable to fill in the gaps for them when *reviewing the qualities of the show.* But it's another matter, as a fan, to create a head canon for a property you enjoy, and in effect participate in creating a little mental world for yourself where those characters and stories inhabit. That's great and I think what a lot of us do who really feel invested in an imaginary world, but it shouldn't be mixed up in discussion about what was actually presented.
John Harmon
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
"It's been great reading your commentary this season in the comments. You are a thoughtful bunch, and I appreciate your contributions to the discussion."

Likewise, good sir. Will you be doing a season recap like back in the day?
BZ
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
What I want to know is when did this disunity happen? During Enterprise era, it's pretty evident that the Klingons as united as they are in TNG. It's harder to tell during TOS, but I'd still say they are united there as well.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

Yes, and then I explained why I came to that conclusion.
Dom
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, wanton killing of civilians has NOTHING to do with guerrilla tactics. Guerrilla warfare simply means a war in which small, independent groups of fighters engage in a irregular fighting, usually against a larger, regular army. It basically means instead of a large army confronting another large army, you have small units engaging in hit and run, ambushes, etc against a larger army.

Regular armies have engaged in indiscriminate violence of civilians for as long as we've had war. The Nazi conquest of Europe ended up killing millions of civilians, often intentionally (even leaving aside the Holocaust). My Lai is but one example of US soldiers doing so. If anything, they were fighting an opponent using guerrilla tactics. Also, forces being unified again has nothing to do with guerrilla tactics. Guerrilla forces can be very unified when it comes to their overall goals, even if independent units operate separately (again, see the Viet Cong).

Peter G. said it best. You're basically using head canon to do the work that the writers didn't. That's fine, but I wouldn't use that as an objective measure to try to understand the show or the quality of the writing.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
“wanton killing of civilians has NOTHING to do with guerrilla tactics”

I disagree, as is the case with indiscriminate suicide bombing which I mentioned above. Guerilla tactics are unorthodox or impromptu tactics - at least according to Merriam-Webster. Impropmtu tactics are implicit if the Klingon forces are fighting without coordination.
John Harmon
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Oops, missed the comment where you said this counted as the season recap too
Dom
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, sorry not sure what to say except that's just not what Guerrilla warfare means. You're confusing irregular and unorthodox with disorganized and impromptu. Irregular and unorthodox doesn't mean that Guerrilla fighters are disorganized or odd. It means that they don't fight as standing armies in marching formation the way that the France and Germany fought during WW1. Guerrilla units can be highly disciplined and coordinated when fighting for a single goal (again, see the Viet Cong). On the other hand, units of a regular armies can fight in a way that is not coordinated (see the British during the Revolutionary War).

Discovery implied that there were 24 Klingon Houses fighting the Federation independently. This is more like saying there are 24 small Arab tribes fighting the US independently. It doesn't imply anything about the tactics they used. Germany and Japan both fought the US during WW2 and didn't actually coordinate that closely with each other, but neither was a guerrilla army.
Dom
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, also suicide bombing is an example of a guerrilla tactic, but it's not something only guerrilla fighters use (terrorists, which aren't the same as guerrilla fighters, also engage in suicide bombing). Individual soldiers in a regular army can also use suicide bombing (see the Japanese Kamikaze). Basically guerrilla warfare is a type of warfare, generally asymmetrical and irregular, not just a single tactic.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

Where in the series script did you hear them say the Klingons were employing "indiscriminate suicide bombing"? Again, I think your head canon is getting in the way of seeing what they really said. And as Dom mentioned, suicide combing of civilian targets, which we call terrorism, isn't the same as open warfare using alternative methods to frontal assault. The Klingons were hardly scared of an open confrontation, and also had no positional need to employ what you're talking about, which are tactics used not to win a war but to cause morale attrition and political results. I think you're confusing what we call 'suicide bombing' with what is actually a suicidal attack, such as the attack on the dreadnought in SW Ep 8. That was not a suicide bombing, but a *suicide run*. The Klingons, having been designed in large part to represent Japanese Samurai culture (especially as portrayed on TNG and DS9), are going to do things like Kamikaze attacks, which in no way implies they're using guerrilla tactics, and definitely not suicide bombings as we call them.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Again, disorganized armies implies impromptu tactics. I think this discussion is getting a bit pedantic, so I apologize if I don’t respond to every point being made and refer again to my details comment above.
Tim
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
@BZ

"What I want to know is when did this disunity happen? During Enterprise era, it's pretty evident that the Klingons as united as they are in TNG. It's harder to tell during TOS, but I'd still say they are united there as well."

It happened in the writer's room.

I've tried very hard not to be a nitpicky nerd, because it's utterly impossible to write any new Star Trek story and remain completely consistent with previous canon, but the writers here didn't even try. I could have forgiven that, for a good story, but this isn't a good story, it's "meh" at best.
Ed
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
OK, I feel sort of feel like arguing about Klingons, but I will go back to my Discovery/Blade Runner dialogue game idea instead:

L`Rell--I'm surprised you didn't come here sooner.
Ash--It's not an easy thing to meet your maker.
L`Rell--And what can she do for you?
Ash--Can the maker repair what she makes?
----------------------------------

Michael--Say 'kiss me.'
Ash--I can't rely on my memories.
Michael--Say ' kiss me.'
Ash--Kiss me.
------------------------------------

[High Tilly to Orion strippers] "Have you ever felt yourself to be exploited in any way? Well...well, like to get this job...did you do or were you asked to do anything lewd or unsavory or otherwise repulsive to your...your person, huh?"
-------------------------------

Quark
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 5:12am (UTC -5)
I agree with Jammer and most people here that this is a contrived episode, especially towards the end. But amidst the sea of implausibility there's one scene that stands out for me: the 'Tilly gets high'-scene. The comedic relief is so forced on the episode that it is frustrating to watch.

Imagine having to guard a piece of equipment so vital that the destiny of Starfleet and the human race depends on it. You' re in a shady part of town on a hostile planet. So what do you do? You sit down with a crazy old dude and inhale some sort of smoke that, considering the circumstances, might very well be intoxicating.

Then, after passing out and leaving the equipment up for grabs, you open it for everyone to see. And having learned that it is in fact a bomb in the case, why not stand in the middle of the room to call your superior? Who cares that everybody can listen in while you tell her that you have a weapon of mass destruction in your hands? That totally does not blow any cover. Very inconspicuous indeed.

Yanks
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:35am (UTC -5)
@Tim
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:41pm (UTC -6)

@Yanks “Don't agree. She is in no way responsible for the war.”

"How do you figure? She killed T’Kuvma. She herself said that such an action would make him into a martyr and guarantee that the Klingons would pick up the banner. She guaranteed the war when she decided to flip her phaser to kill and shoot him in the back. If she stuns him and brings him back to the Federation in chains he’s humiliated, to Klingons go back to their internal squabbles, and the war is avoided.

I don’t understand why this is even a discussion. It’s all right there, in dialogue."

It's not. T'Kuvma declared war when he opened fire on the fleet. So regardless of the martyr thing, while it is in the dialog, doesn't fit what happened. ... and as we found out, they weren't going to follow him anyways.
NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:07am (UTC -5)
Tim: "it's utterly impossible to write any new Star Trek story and remain completely consistent with previous canon"

True, but if they had taken the TNG approach and set the series far enough in the future (read: 50-70 years after the events of Star Trek Nemesis) that the finer points of canon didn't matter, it wouldn't have been much of a problem. By choosing a prequel setting they handicapped themselves right out of the starting gate from a story-telling perspective. It wouldn't have been impossible to write a good story but they started with a disadvantage.

Just my two cents.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:09am (UTC -5)
“It's not. T'Kuvma declared war when he opened fire on the fleet”

Which still doesn’t give her the right to murder him, particularly when the objective of her mission was to BRING HIM BACK ALIVE.

You can rationalize it as bad writing or bad acting if you want, but if the plot demanded that she kill him without it being murder there are about ten million different things in the Trek universe that are shown to render stun ineffective. Have him doped up on Klingon speed, stun doesn’t work, and she kills him in a failed effort to save Philippa.

As written, acted, and SFX’ed that scene is a conscious choice to commit murder.
Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:23am (UTC -5)
@Quark

I have mixed feelings because on one hand I enjoyed it and could definately see her getting stoned under the right circumstances.

BUT not on a several hour (?) mission like this. If it had been a longer story where they had to stay there for a while and live their cover identities there would maybe be time for wacky adventures.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:27am (UTC -5)
@NCC-1701-Z

I agree completely. Set in the future you could have your war, with your thinly veiled Islamic Extremist Caricature, scripted as a blank slate new race, rather than the Klingons. You could have this magical cloaking technology that gives them a decisive edge as some sort of new technology, not the cloaking tech we've known forever, which the Federation has handled just fine thus far.

The only reason to set it in the time period they did is to cash in on the nostalgia for classic Trek of Kirk's era. I can (reluctantly) accept that rationalization with the JJVerse movies, they're going for a mass market of popcorn eaters with only passing familiarity with Star Trek. Anybody not named Kirk, Spock, or (maybe) Picard loses them, but that logic doesn't hold for a TV show.

The natural audience for a TV show was always going to be folks who grew up watching Star Trek on TV. Guess what? Most of those folks grew up watching TNG and its contemporaries. Their memberberries aren't tuned to 1701, they're tuned to 1701-D. Set it a generation or two after the adventures of Picard and Co., tell your stupid war story, and do it in a setting that can explore what happened to the Federation after Picard's time.
Jason R.
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:28am (UTC -5)
The point isn't even whether it was murder or not (which it was). The point is Michael deliberately botched the mission she believed was necessary to stop the war. Whether she was right that killing him would make the war worse and capturing him could stop it, the important thing is she believed it. And she just shoots the guy in the back after deliberately deactivating the stun setting. Seriously.

And not ten minutes earlier she was ready to throw her career away and betray her mentor on the theory that she could prevent the war. Holy mentally unstable mother of $$$. This loose cannon was raised by Vulcans? Sarek and Amanda should be jailed.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:36am (UTC -5)
"The comedic relief is so forced on the episode that it is frustrating to watch. "

That's another indictment of the episode. It didn't really need comedy. Earth stands on the brink, we're contemplating destroying an entire planet to save ourselves, and....... Tilly gets stoned.

Maybe that's what was missing from "In the Pale Moonlight." Sisko needed to replicate himself a nice fat blunt, abandon his log entry halfway through, wander down to the Replimat for some Chinese food, bump into Morn, then laugh like a madman at one of his bad jokes.
KT
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:37am (UTC -5)
@Tim
"As written, acted, and SFX’ed that scene is a conscious choice to commit murder."

It was a choice made under duress in a fight started by T'Kuvma. It was the logical choice given the imperative to save your Captain above the mission. That scene was supposed to clue us into Burnham's prioritises, not make us deem her a murderer. It did make me think "awww she loves her Captain above her career, she IS human awwww". In contrast to that scene of her first meeting Captain Georgiou were she seemed more Vulcan-like.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:42am (UTC -5)
"Holy mentally unstable mother of $$$."

Yep.

The real backstory is figuring out how she got through Starfleet's psychological testing. I'm only half kidding; I half-remember that being mentioned on-screen during Wesley's character arc.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:52am (UTC -5)
@KT

"It was the logical choice given the imperative to save your Captain above the mission."

No. Just no.

For starters, there is no "imperative" to save your Captain. The mission is more important than the man. Name a Starfleet Captain that wouldn't sacrifice themselves for a non-zero chance to avoid/minimize a war. Name one that wouldn't be pissed off at a crew member that chose to save them rather than complete the mission.

As for "logical choice," again, no. It's only logical if stun is ineffective and it was anything but in that scene. Go back and watch the scene again. Stun INSTANTLY drops Klingons. The kill setting actually takes longer to render T'Kuvma a non-threat than the stun shots on his comrades.

The most charitable interpretation of that scene for Michael is manslaughter instead of murder. She saw her mentor die, freaked out, and made a split second decision to kill the man responsible. That would be understandable and even forgivable if Michael was a civilian, put in a difficult situation, but she's not, she's supposed to be a Starfleet professional. How'd she make it to Commander with all that emotional baggage?

Shit, I just watched TNG's "Thine Own Self." Troi repeatedly fails the Bridge Officer's exam because she can't bring herself to send simulated Geordi to his death. How did Michael get past that test?
Dom
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:19am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, here's a homework assignment for you ;)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_warfare

As for Burnham shooting T'Kuvma... it was unprofessional, but also understandably human. If you watched your mentor get killed, you'd probably be pissed too and loose control. The problem - as with so much in this show - is that there was no consequence. The show never made it a moral or ethical issue worth discussing. As someone else said, it came across as "edgy TV" rather than an important moment for the character.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Hey guess what? That article doesn't help your case. Please drop the attitude or don't talk to me.
Peter G.
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 10:46am (UTC -5)
@ KT,

"It was a choice made under duress in a fight started by T'Kuvma."

Already your first premise is flawed. Under duress implies they had no choice in the matter, except that they were on *"T'Kuvma's ship* intentionally, and specifically to find him! Don't know what it even means to argue that T'Kuvma 'started' the fight when they went there specifically to attack him.

"It was the logical choice given the imperative to save your Captain above the mission."

This wasn't telegraphed properly if that was the story they were trying to tell. As others have said, that isn't a logical decision anyhow, but assuming the intention was to value the Captain higher than the mission it still doesn't explain how it was logical to set the phaser to kill.

"That scene was supposed to clue us into Burnham's prioritises, not make us deem her a murderer."

I agree, and they screwed it up so badly that they had to drop the event from the show's history and never mention it again.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 11:42am (UTC -5)
"If you watched your mentor get killed, you'd probably be pissed too and loose control."

Plenty of folks in military and law enforcement see worse and don't lose control. Civilians manage to do it too. As I've said, this is why I find the character so grossly unsympathetic. She threw away the mission. Her reasons for throwing away the mission are immaterial. The fact remains that she threw away the mission and any chance the Federation had of avoiding the larger war.

That single moment in time literally took me out of the episode and out of the universe. I was with the show until then, even through the attempted mutiny, but not an action that I saw as murder. That's not how Starfleet Officers behave.

I don't believe it's a one off error on the part of the writers either:

1. The third episode opens with Federation prisoners talking about being sent to mine dilithim for the war effort and how dangerous that is. The Federation uses penal labor now?

2. Mr. Saru's "crack it open if you have to" comment in reference to the tardigrade.

3. Sarek going along with the destruction of an entire planet.

I don't know what any of that is but it's not Star Trek. It really does feel to me like the writers had to make it dark/edgy for the sake of being dark/edgy. I could add Lorca's various actions to the list too, but they handwaved that away by making him Evil™, which feels like a last minute idea to me despite the supposed plant of the bright light thing, but what do I know. :)
Dom
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@Tim, true, but plenty of folks in law enforcement and the military do lose control. They do make mistakes. We only have to look at the news to know that. I wasn't trying to excuse Burnham by any means, just point out that I didn't view her action as premeditated murder so much as a moment of passion. I do agree though it made her character unsympathetic. She made a mistake, but never owned up to it.
Wouter Verhelst
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
I kindof liked the Enterprise showing up, if only because that allowed the show to connect with an old tradition: to have a character from an older show show up in the pilot of the next. McCoy in TNG, Picard in DS9, Quark in VOY, and they managed to sneak in Zefram Cochrane in ENT. I was a bit disappointed that they hadn't done it for DIS, but here we go.

Of course, I'm sure they will now fuck up continuity even more in season 2. I'm not sure I want to watch that. Ah well, we'll see.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
@Wouter Verhelst

They did already add Sarek to bridge DSC to the other series, but I guess it was neat to see a modern take on the Constellation class ship that isn't modeled on the Abramsverse. I take it that, due to his age, Bruce Greenwood will not be reprising his role as Pike either. Spock's on the table, but then Kurtzman has gone on the record saying they aren't casting for Spock.
Henson
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
@Wouter Verheist

Does that now mean we need to insert a character from Discovery into the pilot for TOS?

*trollface*
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
"I do agree though it made her character unsympathetic. She made a mistake, but never owned up to it."

I don't think there's any amount of atonement that can make up for a mistake of this magnitude. Feels like the writers didn't fully grasp the direction they took the character in. Maybe that's why it feels so unearned at the end. To have her standing up for Starfleet Ideals against the tired old cliche of the Evil Admiral, when she killed a man by shooting him in the back......

All in all the whole season (series) feels like a waste. Michelle Yeoh got the redshirt treatment, Jason Issacs had a complicated character I was invested in who turned out to be a Cartoon Villain, the Klingons were reduced to a caricature, and the screenwriters resorted to cliffhangers to keep us engaged rather than have confidence in their story.

If I were to rate the season as a whole it would get 1.5 stars. The individual episodes:

The Vulcan Hello - 3.0
Battle of the Binary Stars - 2.0
Context is for Kings - 2.5
The Butcher's Knife - 2.0
Choose Your Pain - 2.0
Lethe - 2.5
Magic to Make the Sanest... - 4.0
Si Vis Pacem - 1.5
Into the Forest - 4.0
Despite Yourself - 1.0
The Wolf Inside - 1.5
Vaulting Ambition - 2.0
What's Past... - 1.5
The War Without - 1.5
Will You Take My Hand? - 0 stars

Some will say I'm too harsh, but meh, having finished a binge re-watch I feel like it came off the rails after "Into the Forest." They undermined what was otherwise an amazing episode, a genuine sense of accomplishment, the perfect moment to end the war arc, for the sake of Yet Another Twist and a detour into the Mirror Universe. Then we finally grope our way home and find out it was all for naught and we're back to the damn war, with unrealistically high stakes (Earth) that undermines our investment in the story, because really, we know Earth isn't gonna get nuked.

If they felt like they needed the MU story for Compelling Character Reasons (Michael and Philippa?) then have Discovery transmit the cloak data to Starfleet before she's hijacked, do the mirror universe romp, and come back home to a won war. You were never going to end the war story on a more satisfying note than "Into the Forest," so why even try? They could have had a TNG "Family" style episode to close out the season, without the awkward cuts between impeding doom, slapstick humor, and Noble Speechifying.
Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
@Tim

"1. The third episode opens with Federation prisoners talking about being sent to mine dilithim for the war effort and how dangerous that is. The Federation uses penal labor now?

2. Mr. Saru's "crack it open if you have to" comment in reference to the tardigrade.

3. Sarek going along with the destruction of an entire planet."

I often disagree with you but these were extremely jarring. The third could at least have been improved in a better version of the story to mean he would have THREATENED to destroy a planet to keep the Kingons from actually destroying other planets.

Instead of a one shot all or nothing planet killing bomb make it a device that can manipulate the volcanoes as the user sees fit, perhaps. Otherwise, what's even the point strategically? It's not like all other Klingon planets have that weakness.

But the other two are very hard to spin at all. They say something major about how Discovery is having the Federation work on a daily basis; not some black ops thing even a few people know about, even if one of them is Sarek.

The treatment of prisoners is the worst, because it would have to be the most widely known and accepted in universe. It requires a whole "justice" system that works that way. Even the prisoners are pretty resigned (if bitter) to the fact that "being a prisoner" can equal "slave labor in a mine under potentially deadly conditions."

This contradicts everything ever said about Federation treatment of prisoners where conditions were always assumed to be humane with an emphasis on rehabilitation if possible. Even when prisoners were treated badly, it was a matter of an individual or small group doing it or maybe once or twice some crackpot Clockwork Orange type attempt at rehabilitation.

Also, despite the fact that Star Trek habitually ignores or downplays situations where an advanced society would automate manual labor, the idea that dilithim in mined by a mass labor force in dangerous tunnels doesn't make sense.

We see the issue today, where [sorry to get into anything remotely Trumpian] policies that are pro-mining often don't do much to stop the loss of mining jobs. I guess they could mean that some prisoners work at operating sophisticated mining equipment but I don't think I'd trust them with it (see Star Trek 2009, LOL).

And again, it wouldn't explain the large numbers needed or even the seemingly large numbers of available criminals in the Federation. Admittedly they didn't come out and say exactly what % of Federation citizens are in jail at a given time but the mention of prison labor as big part of the war effort and a transport full of people who act like hardened felons makes me think of the society in Aliens/Prometheus more than Star Trek.

And I'm even not one to always criticize any non-utopian aspect of the Federation in this series or others, including the presentation of smuggling, piracy and rebellion in frontier areas.

When I watched them experiment on the tardigrade, I must admit that at the time, I though the crew didn't understand how intelligent or capable of feeling pain it was. This type of scenario has been done before, but unlike the Horta, this creature looks like it would have a nervous system and sensory organs more or less comprehensible to Starfleet science.

If it could be accidentally relegated to the status of a microbe or cockroach, so could almost any non-humanoid alien without a Universal Translator who wasn't wearing clothes or carrying around technology with it. Scan the complexity of it's brain! And didn't the experiments require intelligence in the first place? Lorca was pretty scary even by this point, so I could imagine him bullying others into doing the experiment but leave Saru as willing accomplice out of it.


KT
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
@Tim
"For starters, there is no "imperative" to save your Captain."

You didn't pick up on the fact that Burnham time and again chose Georgou's life over starfleet?

"How did Michael get past that test?"

She knew it was just a simulation? But more to the point why was Burnham reinstated as commander? she should have been demoted to ensign or lieutenant imo
Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Yea, just because someone has great skills in some scientific field and is thus useful on a starship doesn't mean you want them high in in chain of command or even in it at all.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
"Yea, just because someone has great skills in some scientific field and is thus useful on a starship doesn't mean you want them high in in chain of command or even in it at all."

Starfleet should really have something like the USN's concept of restricted and unrestricted line officers. With all due respect to Crusher and Troi, it's absurd to imagine that they would be in the chain-of-command on the Enterprise-D. They could command their respective divisions and even relieve Picard if he wasn't fit for duty, but they would never take command of the ship. Geordi wouldn't either; he wouldn't have the necessary tactical or diplomatic training and experience.

They sort of had this concept, with the "Command Division" (Red Uniforms in TNG's time) concept, but the writers always treated it a bit haphazardly and realism went out the window when The Script needed some drama or there was no budget for guest star(s).

I could see someone as messed up as Michael making it onto a ship as a Science Specialist, she is something of a prodigy, but to put her in the chain-of-command anywhere, let alone First Officer? Ugh. Ask yourself if you'd want her in command of a Ballistic Missile Submarine. Now scale up that firepower by a factor of about ten million and put her in a position to make first contact with alien races.... [Insert obligatory Babylon 5 / Michael Jankowski reference here]
Adonis
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Rewatched “Balance of Terror” last night and was reminded that Spock surprises Kirk by recommending they attack the Romulans first. A nice bookend with “The Vulcan Hello.”
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
@ Ed

"The treatment of prisoners is the worst, because it would have to be the most widely known and accepted in universe. It requires a whole "justice" system that works that way. Even the prisoners are pretty resigned (if bitter) to the fact that "being a prisoner" can equal "slave labor in a mine under potentially deadly conditions." "

It's jarring, isn't it? The United States of America is one of the (the?) harshest Western Countries when it comes to our penal system, but even here that would never fly. It would be cruel and unusual punishment. But we're supposed to buy that the Federation works that way?

"This contradicts everything ever said about Federation treatment of prisoners where conditions were always assumed to be humane with an emphasis on rehabilitation if possible."

Not assumed. We saw it. At least twice, with Tom Paris and Michael Eddington. There are probably other instances that I'm forgetting about. The Federation penal system works like the Nordic countries. Paris was in an open air prison. One can easily imagine that Eddington was on his way there at some point too.

Now, I've tried very hard not to obsessively nitpick STD, because they're never going to get 100% of the canon correct, and they shouldn't try, but these are basic moral values. The Federation doesn't use penal labor. It doesn't enslave sentient lifeforms.

We've come a long way from Patrick Stewart arguing with the producers that Jean-Luc Picard wouldn't keep a lionfish, because he valued the dignity of life. :(
Baron Samedi
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Just throwing out how I would rate the episodes this season:

The Vulcan Hello - 8/10
Battle of the Binary Stars - 8/10
Context is for Kings - 6/10
The Butcher's Knife - 4/10
Choose Your Pain - 7/10
Lethe - 5/10
Magic to Make the Sanest... - 9/10
Si Vis Pacem - 1/10
Into the Forest - 7/10
Despite Yourself - 7/10
The Wolf Inside - 7/10
Vaulting Ambition - 9/10
What's Past... - 9/10
The War Without - 3/10
Will You Take My Hand? - 2/10

I feel like I enjoyed the season more than most people here. It was better than the first season of all post-TOS shows, although most of those first seasons had a couple better episodes than any of Discovery's. I'm also pessimistic that the writers will be capable of righting the wrongs inherent in their current approach. Jammer's review of the finale here does a pretty good job capturing how I feel about the series at the moment.

The worst thing I can say about Discovery is that it not only doesn't make me think very hard, but it punishes me for doing so. Pretty much every major storyline collapses upon the slightest examination (the L'Rell/Voq/Tyler scheme, the end of the Klingon war, the Federation going along with Mirror Georgiou's plan). This resulted in the finale, though not insultingly terrible (faint praise I know), not working on any significant level.

On the other hand, the acting is really good (I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here) all-around and the show managed to be tons of goofy fun. I didn't even mind the evil caricature Lorca turned out to be - it was a reasonably satisfying payoff and I don't think the show needed to deliver anything more.

If the writers can focus on delivering a smaller amount of plot in a satisfying manner, then Discovery could end up being a great show. My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace, so these changes won't actually happen.
Daniel Williams
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
L'rell: I HAVE A BOMB THAT WILL DETSROY Q'ONOS! SO I'M NOW THE LEADER OF THE EMPRE!

Klingons: Nope. *shoots L'rell*

God this whole resolution the war is just complete and utter garbage. LIke the new Klingon designs so I guess it's fitting that way.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
“I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here”

I’m glad I’m not the only one. I find the CHARACTER an unsympathetic mess who has no business in Starfleet, but the ACTRESS is not the problem, it’s the writing.
Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
@Tim
Restricted vs unrestricted line officers sounds like what Starfleet needs.

@Daniel
Given her almost getting away with the Ash/Voq thing she should have had no problem putting spies and assassins in every Klingon House and it's ships.
Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
“God this whole resolution the war is just complete and utter garbage”

The more I think on it the more I’m convinced they should have ended it with “Into the Forest.” Go out on a high note, where Discovery is instrumental in Saving The Day™, and end the war right there. No reason she can’t transmit the cloak findings to Starfleet before her next (mis)adventure.

I guess you can keep the MU romp (though, I’d personally have made it a legitimate failure of the spore drive, not a Evil Master Plan™ by MU Lorca), it fits with the “Year of Hell” theme for Discovery, in a better setting than the war, gets Michelle Yeoh back, and makes Discovery’s eventual homecoming more meaningful.

The last two episodes though, ugh, what a waste. They didn’t HAVE to return to the war. They CHOSE to return the war. What were they thinking? The need for cliffhangers seems to be the only consistent feature:

End of Episode 13, “The Federation is gone, nobody is answering our hails, the Klingons won.”

Beginning of Episode 14 (Five minutes later), “There’s a ship approaching. It’s one of ours!”

They’re not even PLANNED cliffhangers. They made this up as they went along. They’re selling “The Young and the Restless” packaged as “Breaking Bad.” :(
Nic
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
I read on the Internet that "Discovery is fun, as long as you don’t think too much about it afterwards". Well, that’s too bad for me, because I like stories that make me think. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that is so all over the place (thematically, tonally, etc.) and yet doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere interesting.

This particular episode wasn’t the worst of the season, nor was it the best. It had its moments that worked and many more that didn’t, including, surprisingly, the totally unearned "We are Starfleet" moment where Burnham decides and easily convinces everyone that they shouldn’t commit genocide. You’d think that would be one of the first things you learn as a Starfleet cadet. And why does no one have a problem with L’Rell using the THREAT of genocide to force the Klingon houses to unite against their will? And what if they were to discover that the bomb was designed by Starfleet? Don’t you think they’d be a little bit angry? Burnham’s speech at the end was nicely performed, but it was filled with platitudes that had nothing to do with what has happened to these characters over the course of the season.

As Jammer rightfully said, what has this season been about?

The show definitely works better when you forget it’s Star Trek and just pretend it’s set in a completely new universe. Which is why, when they get the distress call from Pike’s Enterprise, I was disappointed. Not because the idea is bad per se, but because I know that the writers will somehow find a hundred ways to screw it up.

For the record, here’s my completely subjective ranking of each Trek series’ first season.

TOS 7.0/10
VOY 6.9/10
DS9 6.6/10
ENT 6.5/10
TNG 5.5/10
DIS 5.5/10

So, overall, I’ve found this season to be about equal in quality to TNG’s first season (which until now was the single worst season of Trek I'd seen). It’s interesting to compare the two, because they were both the first Trek series to air in over ten years, and they both had a revolving door of writers (I’m sure Bryan Fuller’s departure as creater/showrunner before the show even premiered didn’t help). TNG had lower lows and higher highs; Discovery hasn’t had episodes as bad as "Code of Honor" or "When the Bough Breaks" (though certain individual scenes have been that bad), but it also hasn’t done anything as good as "11001001" and, for some reason, I don't expect it ever will.
Mark
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 1:03am (UTC -5)
I stopped watching after the first episode because Burnham's mutiny was a complete, unearned contrivance that was going to drive the rest of the series and I assumed it would be downhill from there. I've kept up with your reviews while not watching the show and sadly, the awful twisting of the characters to serve the plot--to my mind Sarek is the worst and saddest example of this--doesn't surprise me.

I'm interested in your upcoming reviewing project though and I wonder what it might be. (My extreme longshot hope is Farscape--a show that always put the characters first--but I'm assuming it will be something more recent.) Whatever the next show you're reviewing is, I'll be there to read the reviews.
KT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 5:48am (UTC -5)

"My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace" (BARON SAMEDI)

Absolute capitalism is ruining star trek.
Gul Densho-Ar
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 7:36am (UTC -5)
We doing season ratings now? \o/

Let's see... I'll be using Jammer's 4-star rating.

The Vulcan Hello - 1.5 stars
Battle of the Binary Stars - 1.5
Context is for Kings - 1.0
The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry - 1.0
Choose Your Pain - 1.5
Lethe - 1.5
Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad - 2.0
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum - 2.0
Into the Forest I Go - 1.5
Despite Yourself - 3.0
The Wolf Inside - 3.5
Vaulting Ambition - 2.5
What's Past Is Prologue - 2.0
The War Without, the War Within - 2.5
Will You Take My Hand? - 1.5

Average: 1.9 - sounds about right
Gul Densho-Ar
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 7:50am (UTC -5)
@Baron Samedi

"The worst thing I can say about Discovery is that it not only doesn't make me think very hard, but it punishes me for doing so."

To be fair, Trek hardly always made sense. I'm close to finishing my VOY marathon, and that series also taught me early on to not think too much about it, it rarely makes a lot of sense and is full of plot holes like Emmentaler cheese. And the other series aren't innocent either.

But yes, it is worse in DSC than in the other series. Where VOY is nonsensical, DSC is just mental. It's like an entire season of Threshold-level insanity.
PatrickD
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Jammer,

If you are considering doing a limited reviewing project in the interim, may I suggest Joss Whedon's "Firefly": it's only 12 episodes long and considered one of the greatest SF shows of all time. It's well worth your time and we'd love to hear your reviews of it. I think it's on Netflix, Hulu, and such.
Tim
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
"To be fair, Trek hardly always made sense."

It does when it's on its game. From Jammer's review of "Into the Forest":

"The technical details of this plan, which tie into 133 jumps Stamets must make in the middle of the battle zone, are intricate — but they are clear and well-sold by the writing, which makes all the difference. It feels like old-school Trek, where the tech is taken seriously enough that we can follow what's going on."

Voyager and end-stage (Seasons 6 and 7) TNG got away from this and started to rely on particles on the week for drama and contrived technobabble solutions to writing problems. If you go back to when TNG peaked, Seasons 3 and 4, they didn't do this too much. The tech was there to tell a story and rarely became the story. They kept the tech grounded in a level of realism, like the conversation in "Best of Both Worlds" where they're discussing new weapons systems and predict two years before they can be ready for testing; later seasons of TNG and most of Voyager would have seen them invented, tested, and ready for use across a commercial break.

There's a lot I criticize about DS9 but this is something they did right. Aside from a handful of episodes -- mostly Season 1 affairs -- they kept the technobabble in the background and even treated it tongue-in-cheek (self-sealing stem bolts) as a little wink to the audience.
Tim
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
@ Mark "I stopped watching after the first episode because Burnham's mutiny was a complete, unearned contrivance that was going to drive the rest of the series and I assumed it would be downhill from there."

Ironically, "The Search for Spock" is airing today on Starz. Got it on for background noise and it's quite the contrast with Discovery's treatment of mutiny. It feels earned, logical, and in character in Star Trek III, not contrived. Kirk & Co. mutiny to try and save a friend of many decades. Michael mutinies because she thinks she's right and her CO is wrong. Hard to see Riker, Kira, Spock, or Chakotay pulling the same stunt in the same situation....
JP
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
@Adonis
"Rewatched “Balance of Terror” last night and was reminded that Spock surprises Kirk by recommending they attack the Romulans first. A nice bookend with “The Vulcan Hello.” "

Wrong. In "Balance of Terror" the Romulans crossed the neutral zone, and destroyed three Federation outposts before Spock recommended an attack. It is in no way comparable to the unprovoked attack recommended by Burnham in "The Vulcan Hello." This kind of half-hearted attention to detail is exactly what is wrong with Discovery.
Tim
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
^^^^^ Yep.

Not really an in-character suggestion for a Vulcan either, unless we're going to retcon the Klingons into being mindless bloodthirsty animals, something worse than the Jem'Hadar. The Klingons of the TOS era got into barfights with our heroes. They didn't shoot at them on sight.....
KT
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 3:48am (UTC -5)
@Tim
"It is in no way comparable to the unprovoked attack recommended by Burnham in 'The Vulcan Hello'"

Klingons purposely and wilfully destroyed federation  eqiupment in federation space and then lay in wait in order to start a war. When Burnham went to investigate she was attacked without cause. Her Captain was sceptical of Burnham's recollection of events because Burnham had severe radiation poisoning. With the stakes so high, it might seem logical to attack if your priority is to prevent loss of life rather than to follow the starfleet way...

"Not really an in-character suggestion for a Vulcan either"

Vulcans will do the logical thing. They will do what is necessary when diplomacy has failed or has no obvious chance.

"unless we're going to retcon the Klingons into being mindless bloodthirsty animals"

The Klingons are a warrior race, they do have a thirst for battle, conquering and victories. I don't see this as a retcon. And they are similar to Jem Hader in this way, as acknowledged in ds9 'by infernos light'.
Tim
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 4:51am (UTC -5)
@KT

"Klingons purposely and wilfully destroyed federation eqiupment in federation space and then lay in wait in order to start a war. When Burnham went to investigate she was attacked without cause."

I've had this discussion/debate many times, particularly vis-à-vis the DS9 episode "The Jem Hadar." It's not just about the "Starfleet way," although that's a part of it. It's very easy to find examples from the real world (e.g., the Pueblo Incident) where nation-states pragmatically turn the other cheek when confronted with Acts of War, rather than escalate the situation, even in cases where the aggrieved nation would be expected to win any resulting war. It's not so easy to send young men and women to their deaths....

I'm not a die hard fan of Babylon 5, but I absolutely love the tale of the First Contact with the Minbari. Jankowski panicked and started a war that nearly ended with the extinction of the human race. If there ever is an actual First Contact, the folks making it should be prepared to lay down and die, if that's what's necessary to avoid war, because what's one ship and crew compared to an entire civilization?

To me, that's why Picard -- and Georgiou, as portrayed in Discovery's pilot -- is the quintessential Starfleet Captain. Not because he was a capable diplomat, or a good solider (he was both, when needed), but rather because they always wrote him as someone who understood the gravity of the chair that he sat in. Put Picard in the Babylon 5 story and there's no war, even if you take away all of the Star Trek conceits (universal translator) that make it stupid easy to establish a dialogue with alien races.

So yeah, you can say with some justification that the Klingons were the clear aggressors here, ditto the Dominion in DS9, but that doesn't wash away Starfleet's stupidity in either story, nor does it excuse Michael's actions.

"The Klingons are a warrior race, they do have a thirst for battle, conquering and victories. I don't see this as a retcon. And they are similar to Jem Hader in this way, as acknowledged in ds9 'by infernos light'."

We're probably going to have to agree to disagree on this, because I don't feel that the Klingons were ever portrayed as the bloodthirsty animals that Discovery made them out to be. Not even Kruge came off that way. Ruthless? Yes. Bloodthirsty to the point that we're justified in firing at them on sight? No.

Discovery's viewpoint Klingons were portrayed as some sort of religious cult trying to Make Qo'noS Great Again. Yes, I went there. The one Klingon (Kol) that wasn't part of the cult was a complete asshole. There was no Remata'Klan character, the sympathetic bad guy. The Orville gave its bad guys -- the Krill -- more personality in one episode than Discovery's Klingons got in an entire season.
KT
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 6:29am (UTC -5)
@Tim
"Bloodthirsty to the point that we're justified in firing at them on sight?"

Now you're just exaggerating. Nobody in DSC fired on sight without cause.
Tim
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Since I apparently have to spell it out, the notion that the best way to deal with the Klingons is to immediately fire on them is not supported by any previous canon. The Klingons were complex characters, not one dimensional Bad Guys. It’s contrived bullshit, to create an excuse for Michael’s mutiny, and a complete retcon.

Have the last word, because I’m not inclined to continue to engage you after you reduced my entire post to one sentence.
KT
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 8:51am (UTC -5)
@Tim
"I don't feel that the Klingons were ever portrayed as the bloodthirsty animals that Discovery made them out to be."

In the TOS movies the only reason a humbled Klingon government reached out in peace to the UFP was due to their having brought Kronos to the brink of destruction by over-mining Praxis.

There was also Kruge and the Duras sisters trying to get a hold of WMDs.

In TNG eps Birthright Wolf teaches Klingons living in a secret Romulan colony about how exhilarating  hunting is.

And you don't think Klingons are bloodthirsty?

Maybe you're suffering from the same romanticism of Klingons that Curzon and Jadzia had.
KT
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 9:18am (UTC -5)
"Have the last word, because I’m not inclined to continue to engage you after you reduced my entire post to one sentence."

Your post was rambling on about real life and B5 to try and justify your claim that DSC breaks STAR TREK canon with regards to house of TKuvma's religious type behaviour, and klingon/starfleet interactions. I just cut out the irrelevant stuff...

On another note, I never finished watching B5. I couldn't get past that BORING episode where the Centuri Ambassdor has a love affair.
JP
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 10:14am (UTC -5)
@KT "Klingons purposely and wilfully destroyed federation eqiupment in federation space and then lay in wait in order to start a war."

Damaging a minor, unmanned sensor relay on the outskirts of Federation space does not mean the Klingons are looking to start a war. And since no one has seen a Klingon in a hundred years, why would you assume the Klingons even recognized this area as Federation space? This situation is no way comparable to the Romulans' crossing the neutral zone--which defines the border between Romulan and Federation space--and destroying 3 outposts full of Starfleet personnel.
KT
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
@JP
"And since no one has seen a Klingon in a hundred years, why would you assume the Klingons even recognized this area as Federation space? "

This sentence is riddled with so many wrongs I don't know where to start. Georgou says 'ALMOST no one has seen a Klingon in hundred yrs'. The truth is that whilst Starfleet have not been to Kronos for about 100yrs, there have been attacks by Klingons on Federation outposts and ship to ship skirmishes throughout the last 100yrs e.g. the attack which killed Burnham's parents and the 'fleeting run-ins' mentioned by the Admiral in the 1st episode.

In ENT the Tellerite in BOUNTY clearly speaks of 'Klingon space', which if you cross they will take your ship. TKurma, at the very start of DSC is whining about how the Federation is coiling around their space. All this indicates that as more and more worlds joined the Federation their space was starting to surround Klingon space.

"Damaging a minor, unmanned sensor relay on the outskirts of Federation space does not mean the Klingons are looking to start a war."

No-one said it did. But in the context of the aforementioned history, destroying SF equipment at the edge of UFP space, taking a lunge at a SF commander, decloaking in a face-off position nearby and then ignoring hails isn't exactly non-threatening behaviour. Burnham can't understand why Klingons have not attacked but appear to be calling for backup. Sarek deduces that a new leader/unify may be behind these actions, and that he maybe trying to start a war. If the boot fits.
JP
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
@KT Whatever limited interactions there might have been over the last hundred years, there clearly aren't active diplomatic relations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Without a treaty that defines a border, who is to say where the Federation border exists to the Klingons, or where the Klingon border exists to the Federation? What establishes the Federation's claim to this uninhabited area of space? A sole communications relay? The Klingons clearly felt that their artifact gave them the claim--and according to Burnham, the Klingon artifact is "centuries old." This suggests that the Federation may have inadvertently encroached upon Klingon space. The fact that the Federation's borders are expanding makes this an even more likely possibility.

You just said that the Klingons "lay in wait in order to start a war" but now you claim that no one suggested that. Like the writers of Discovery, you seem to have trouble maintaining continuity from one idea to the next.
KT
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
@JP
"What establishes the Federation's claim to this uninhabited area of space?"

As mentioned in the episode there's a nearby Starbase and Andorian Colony.

"The Klingons clearly felt that their artifact gave them the claim"

Where did you get this impression from? what Burnham initially describes as 'an artifact' was actually a ship covered in coffins. She and Saru work this out later on in the first episode. I recall that, in a later episode, TKuvma said that he got the ship back up and running after it was laying in ruins from the generation before. So it definitely hasn't been up in space in the same spot for thousands of years.

"You just said that the Klingons "lay in wait in order to start a war""

I said the above because we know they did, from the dialogue that we were privy too which SF were not.

"but now you claim that no one suggested that"

That's not what I claimed. I said that no one assumed that Klingons are trying to start a war based solely on their "Damaging a minor, unmanned sensor relay on the outskirts of Federation space" -which is what you claimed I claimed.

If you can't keep straight what you're talking about from one post to the next I suggest you accept that this is all too much for you and give up.
Rinzwind
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Quite simple: The Orville is the new Star Trek. Discovery is one dark grim one person mess.
warp10lizard
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
“Quite simple: The Orville is the new Star Trek. Discovery is one dark grim one person mess.”

Some of us don’t like The Orville and could do without the viral marketing popping into our Trek discussions.
JP
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
@KT "Where did you get this impression from? what Burnham initially describes as 'an artifact' was actually a ship covered in coffins." I got this impression by paying attention to the show, and it seems I'm being punished for it now. The artifact is actually the Beacon of Kahless, not the Sarcophagus ship. The beacon is entirely separate from the Sarcophagus ship that decloaks.

Given the available information, both the crew and the audience should be thinking, why is there a centuries-old Klingon artifact in this area of space? Since it emits a scattering field that blocks sensor readings, how long has it been there unnoticed? Could it be that the Discovery is actually in Klingon space and might be perceived as the aggressors?

"As mentioned in the episode there's a nearby Starbase and Andorian Colony."

For a sense of scale, the distance of the border between Romulan and Federation space is 1 light year. At Discovery's location, the nearest Federation starbase is 3 light years away. The nearest Andorian colony is 6 light years away. That leaves plenty of room for a misunderstanding about where the Klingon-Federation borders lie, in the absence of a treaty delineating those borders, and with the Federation's borders actively expanding.

Both the crew and the audience are clued into the possibility that the Discovery could be provoking the Klingons by violating Klingon space, albeit unknowingly. Would the Klingons not be justified in disabling a foreign communications relay in their space? This is why I said Burnham recommended an "unprovoked attack", not comparable to the attack recommended by Spock in "Balance of Terror" (where the Romulans crossed the neutral zone to destroy 3 manned Federation outposts) to which you responded:

"Klingons purposely and wilfully destroyed federation eqiupment in federation space and then lay in wait in order to start a war. When Burnham went to investigate she was attacked without cause."

All the available information suggests that the Beacon was there long before the Federation relay, which means the Federation's claim to this area of space may have been in error. By boarding the Beacon, Burnham was giving the Klingons cause to defend themselves. There was no justification for Discovery to fire first.
KT
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
@JP
"why is there a centuries-old Klingon artifact in this area of space? Could it be that the Discovery is actually in Klingon space and might be perceived as the aggressors? "

Except the Klingons apparently never told the Federation it's their space; they never seemed interested in talking. Except to each other about how they will Dominate and Remain Klingon.

"By boarding the Beacon, Burnham was giving the Klingons cause to defend themselves. "

Because exploration and identification (which is all Burnham did) are cause for defence? If there was a chance of diplomacy with them, why did they ignore hails?

"There was no justification for Discovery to fire first."

Burnham's reasoning was not solely based on the events of that day. She also factored in what Sarek had told her and her knowledge of Klingons as a 'warrior race'.
Peter G.
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
@ KT,

""why is there a centuries-old Klingon artifact in this area of space? Could it be that the Discovery is actually in Klingon space and might be perceived as the aggressors? "

Except the Klingons apparently never told the Federation it's their space; they never seemed interested in talking. Except to each other about how they will Dominate and Remain Klingon."

That's not a good argument. If there's any possibility of doubt that the borders are well-understood by both parties then the onus is on the Federation (the diplomats) to make sure everything is clear. A first strike against a Klingon ship that is potentially only (in its view) defending its territory should be totally out of the question. Sacrificing a relay station to give the Klingons the benefit of the doubt should be a no-brainer. But that's where Michael comes in: she has a grudge and doesn't trust them, so wants to attack them rather than let what happened to her parents happen again. The writers clearly agree with her, which is very sad. The worst part, though, was Sarek suggesting she do something totally against Federation values (and law), which contravenes what we've been told over and over - that the Federation does not shoot first. That's one of the reasons I've started calling him "Sarek".
BZ
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.,
To be fair, Sarek only said it worked for the Vulcans, and explicitly cautioned that the Shenzou's situation may be different.
Peter G.
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
@ BZ,

"To be fair, Sarek only said it worked for the Vulcans, and explicitly cautioned that the Shenzou's situation may be different."

Technically, yes. But my reading of that scene was that the writers were making it clear that this was an advisable action. It didn't play as just Sarek postulation on her options, but more like the narrator-voice telling her that it was the right move. Or maybe even the Voice of Destiny, which assures that her read on situations is always correct.
Chrome
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
I don’t see why people are defending Burnham’s actions in the premiere after she flat out said she was wrong in this episode.

“the writers were making it clear that [shooting first] was an advisable action.”

I believe the writers at least wanted to promote that Sarek’s understanding of Klingon culture is correct. “Violence brought respect, respect brought peace.” This comes full circle in the finale with L’Rell using a massive bomb to get her own people’s respect. If there’s anything that’s true about Klingons in all iterations of Trek it’s that they appreciate violence. I just wish the writing staff tried a bit harder to connect the dots here.
SC
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Can't see me watching season 2. The visuals are great but I still don't care for any of the characters and season 1 was a bit of a mess. I prefer The Orville at this point. The Orville is more in line with old Trek, lighthearted and entertaining with interesting characters and intriguing storylines. Moralistic with idealism.

Discovery is bland and kinda boring in comparison.
Yair
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Talking about "Klingon provocation" in the context of the Sarcophagus ignores what Michael was up to. Burnham's plan did not merely require firing on the Sarcophagus. The idea was to give the Klingons the "Vulcan Hello" - firing on them first, every time a Starfleet vessel meets a Klingon ship. Given that no "provocation" was mentioned as a requirement for firing first during these would-be encounters, it is obvious Burnham was happy to fire regardless of circumstances.

IMHO, this is the one and only time in series the writers weren't entirely on her side - every sympathetic character she asks is hesitant or opposes the plan outright.
KT
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 5:07am (UTC -5)
@Peter G "If there's any possibility of doubt that the borders are well-understood by both parties then the onus is on the Federation (the diplomats) to make sure everything is clear."

If that's the case why did Georgiou say with certainty, "This is Federation space, retreat is not an option. We have to flush the Klingons out".
Del_Duio
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 8:51am (UTC -5)
I forget but did we ever get a real answer on why that Discovery-class ship (that wasn't the Discovery) had all those twisted and messed up dead people on it?

Or are we just assuming it was a failed attempt to get to the Mirror Universe?
Yanks
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 9:43am (UTC -5)
@ Del_Duio
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 8:51am (UTC -6)
"I forget but did we ever get a real answer on why that Discovery-class ship (that wasn't the Discovery) had all those twisted and messed up dead people on it?

Or are we just assuming it was a failed attempt to get to the Mirror Universe?"

My take on that is it was a failed attempt at using the spore drive. This miscue actually produced the tardigrade.
Yanks
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 10:11am (UTC -5)
Oh, for the Discovery folks.

I very much prefer Michael's hair at the beginning of the show.

Drop the volcano head look please.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 11:10am (UTC -5)
@ KT,

"If that's the case why did Georgiou say with certainty, "This is Federation space, retreat is not an option. We have to flush the Klingons out"."

Because there's a difference between seeking a diplomatic understanding and retreating out of cowardice. As I recall the teleplay Saru wanted to bugger out of there because his instinct was danger, and it was the show's way of illustrating to us the Kelpian prey-mentality, whereas Georgiou is capable of recognizing they're in danger but standing her ground for the chance to initiate dialogue with the Klingons. 'Flush the Klingons out' may have been a clunky piece of dialogue writing (I can't recall how she said the line), but I think it meant that they wanted to get the Klingons to reveal their intentions and she was going to stay until she accomplished that. I consider it a calculated risk taken on the offchance they learn something about the Klingons and what they're up to. But again, there's a huge difference between having backbone and going in with guns blazing like Michael wanted to. Up until that point there was no clear sense of the Klingons' hostile intentions, or frankly what they wanted at all. The Starfleet way is to stand your ground and try to investigate, without escalating the level of violence. I think that both Saru and Michael stood as examples of how not to handle the situation, either to flee or to go in swinging, but to take a measured approach. I suppose that's why the show later claims that Georgiou was one of the great captains.
Ed
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 11:10am (UTC -5)
@KT
If that's the case why did Georgiou say with certainty, "This is Federation space, retreat is not an option. We have to flush the Klingons out".

Exactly. While the story might have been more interesting with an added subplot about contested territory, nothing the characters said or did gives that impression.

If that had been the intent, characters would have said things like this:

T'Kuvma--"We are heading towards a place long occupied illegally by the Federation. Our leaders do nothing to support our territorial rights in this matter because it isn't strategically or economically important.
But true Klingons are above such practical concerns! It is a longstanding symbol of the Empire's increasing weakness and fear of conflict with the Federation. We will destroy anything they have put there and any ship sent to defend it. Then all will know that the Klingons will no longer be disrespected!"

Geogiou--"At one time, the Klingons were making a claim to this area and sometimes attacking Federation ships who came too close. It hasn't happened in a very long time, but be let's be careful. In my opinion, Starfleet shouldn't have put the communications equipment in such a dangerous area in the first place, but I guess they were trying to make a statement that they wouldn't back down."

or

Goergiou--"While nearly all political entities near this area respect the Federation's right to use it, there was a time when the Klingons were complaining that it was theirs and occasionally sending in ships to cause trouble. As they became increasingly isolated, they seem to have dropped the matter so we probably won't run into any problems."
Paul M.
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Fun Fact Time!

Out of 29 seasons of Trek, there have been only three without a single four-star-episode as reviewed by Jammer: VOY1, ENT4, and DIS1.

What grand and esoteric piece of wisdom can be gleaned from this? What truth lies hidden beneath the murky waters of subjective opinion, waiting to be ushered into the light? Time will only tell... or will it?
KT
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer
"there have been only three without a single four-star-episode as reviewed by Jammer: VOY1, ENT4, and DIS1. "

While I totally agree DIS1 doesn't deserve 4stars and would question the 3 stars it has been given, ENT4 "observer effect" deserves 4, or 3 and a half at least. I don't know why jammer would only give it a 3.
Steven
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
>> "Take a very simple scene, as an example, a very small detail, that shows you exactly what is important in this show: When they first discover the Klingon satellite, they can not get a visual, because the visuals are blurred... So they look through an analog telescope, and can see it clearly. Can you see the idiocy? The "Optical scanner" (which is just a fancy name to say "telescope with an attached digital camera") can not see the object clearly because a field distorts the photons coming from that object, but an old telescope, which recieves exactly the same distorted photons, can see it clearly? This is a very minor and unimportant example, that is dwarfed by many other, bigger examples (and really, I would have just overlooked it normally as cheesy), where the show thinks its viewers are idiots. The ultimate example of that trend is the final solution to the klingon war: They just give up because Burnham is awesome. The show treats everybody, its cast, its viewers, like an idiot, and expects me to cheer them on for it. No, I will not do that. That has nothing to do with "But muh Klingon redesign" or "But Starfleet wouldn't do that!". NOBODY who is sane would do something like that. Nobody. None of the characters involved, would ever do that. And if they did, it would backfire spectacularly."

That's the feeling that the series has constantly been giving me, ever since the pilot. It's worth pointing out how much this disrespect for the viewer undermines the viewing experience. If you feel treated like an idiot, it gets very hard to get involved or immersed with the movie/series.

I just want to leave a brief comment on this episode: It has indeed shown how inept the writers are, and if it were for me, I couldn't give it more than 1 star. It is absolute madness to presume that L'Rell would abort an already won war, because she simply has no reason to do so. It's no exaggeration, as others have suggested, to call this one of the weakest/least believable conclusions to a war plot that has been shown on serialized television.

But anyway, the silver lining is that I feel now is a good moment to quite watching the show. We've seen the complete arc of season 1; we are capable of judging now; and we have a certain sense of completion. I see little incentive to jump into a new adventure/story next season and get invested into a show again that has HAD its trial run in season one and utterly failed in my opinion.

I really wanted to like the show, but things already started to fall apart in the pilot when I started to feel treated like an idiot, - to come back to the quote from the beginning of my post -, because I was supposed to follow Michael Burnham on her journey to mutiny, while her decisionmaking made no sense to me whatsoever. That experience is not only echoed, but completely dwarved by what we got served in the season finale; so in a sense, the series has come full circle. It's just baffling how nothing makes sense. If you just poke a little bit, if you just use your intellect for an instant, everything falls apart. We are expected to narrowly follow the perspective and narrative from Michael Burnham's POV, which is ultimately insulting to the audience. We are told what to feel and what to think, and all the ambiguity that was tauntingly woven into the series in its first few episodes turned out to be misleading: No, there is no complex use of multiple perspectives here; it's all just the Michael Burnham show. Love her, feel with her, or otherwise this series isn't for you.

Apparently my comment wasn't as brief as I thought... sorry for that. I'm saying my goodbye to those who have decided to stay onboard for season 2. It was a good discussion, really, and more intriguing really than watching the show itself.
Skecko
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 12:03am (UTC -5)
I'll be back for next season. Because I think it's better than most seasons of VOY and I watched all of that nonsense. Even the first season of TNG was better (except for 'Code of Honor', which was a zero star episode if ever there was one).

And all of this talk of borders and who shot first or whatever, is nonsense, because the writer's didn't care about that, so why should you?
KT
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 7:40am (UTC -5)
@Ed
"Exactly. While the story might have been more interesting with an added subplot about contested territory, nothing the characters said or did gives that impression."

Yeah, the writers seemed to have dropped any potential of the Klingon territorial claim in favour of making it seem like TKuvma was a warmongerer for unification purposes. Maybe they were attempting a commentary on Margret Thatcher and the Falklands war, or Bush and the Iraq war.
Jrpl
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 9:20am (UTC -5)
"Out of 29 seasons of Trek, there have been only three without a single four-star-episode as reviewed by Jammer: VOY1, ENT4, and DIS1.

What grand and esoteric piece of wisdom can be gleaned from this?"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That Jammer is part of the big anti Voyager season 1 lobby? Or is it the Enterprise season 4 lobby? Actually, it's because when those seasons were airing, Venus was aligned with the Moon.

Anyways, to actually answer that question, I've always found ENT S4 to be highly overrated by the fanbase. The notion that Manny Coto came and saved the show ignores just how boring and predictable the episodes that season really were. TO me it was the least interesting season of the show.

VOY S1 was a shakedown cruise. Some good stuff, but they were still figuring it out. I do really love the Beowulf episode though.
William B
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Jammer is probably the best person to ask (though it's in some ways not that interesting a question), but here's my take:

I don't think that the point is that VOY s1 or ENT s4 are particularly weak seasons. The lack of 4 star shows just means a lack of 4 star shows; VOY s1 also has only one episode with a sub-2* rating, and it's 1.5*, and that's actually very good for a Trek season overall -- there are only a handful of Trek seasons with no episodes of 1* or lower. ENT s4 has the one 1* ep (Bound) but otherwise doesn't sink below 2*, so also gets points for consistency. And we find the same with ratings for Discovery s1, which never sinks below 2*, which is rare. It's not a knock against those seasons so much as a sense that they don't have classics, which in turn is maybe a knock against them -- since a lot of what we're here are the memorable classics.

I was going to say that I also think that ratings are a little relative to season, and the fact that the VOY s1/ENT s4/Disco s1 ratings were done from week-to-week rather than in retrospect, like TOS/TNG/DS9 s1-2, might mean that it's hard to identify where the level of a four star episode is for that season. And yet, am I really arguing that there are any seasons of TOS/TNG/DS9 s1-2 that don't have any four-star eps? The only possible exception I can think of is that *maybe* TNG s1's 11001001 gets a slight boost by virtue of the season it's in and is maybe more naturally a 3.5* show, but other than that, I can't think of any seasons of TOS/TNG/DS9 s1-2 that don't have any obvious 4* candidates (and in some cases, I'd give out more 4*'s personally). Here I'll add though that if Duet had happened to come in DS9 s2, only a handful of eps later, and if Jammer didn't (subconsciously?) scale one of the 3.5*'s up, then DS9 s1 would be a clear case of "season Jammer really clearly likes and speaks highly of without a 4* show," demonstrating that the 4* classics are not strictly necessary for a year to be good. Though even there, you know, Duet does do something pretty special for DS9 s1 in terms of paying off a lot of the set-up early enough to make s2 clear viewing.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
We should also take into account the sliding rating scale, which Jammer has sort of indicated he uses. TNG *** is not necessarily equal to ENT ***, for instance, in absolute quality, but rather I think he uses that particular rating to mean something like "pretty solid but not exceptional", which is a fairly relative qualification. Solid for ENT means a reasonable story that doesn't bore us to death or make any missteps, whereas for TNG solid means really exciting our imagination but still by no means being the best TNG has to offer. And I think William is right that a retrospective review will always harm a good series while helping a bad one, because if you know just how good TNG can get you'll be hesitant to award more than *** to an episode that doesn't floor you, whereas if the expectations are lower you'll be quite pleased for them to have produced a modest effort that creates some effect.

I'm not intending to rip into any particular series when I say this, because there's some logic to employing a sliding scale. For one thing, being too absolute will fail to properly indicate how rewarding it is to see a season that's struggling produce something decent, which is a relative but still real reaction when watching. Another thing is that if one is charitable (which I think Jammer really is in his reviews) the sliding scale allows for a lot of 'hope' to creep into the ratings, where an episode that makes us hopeful for the series will bump the rating, compared to a series that has a high standard, where a substandard episode (like Sub Rosa) will really irk people. Actually I don't hate Sub Rosa, but it is really stupid.
Jrpl
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
Given how first seasons are generally shakedowns, it's best to leave them out of discussions about lack of 4 star episodes. Usually any that do appear are flukes or one offs like Duet or Dear Doctor that rise above the rest of their first season cousins due to having something singular about them that rises them above the rest.

I'd suggest a better conversation would be to look at seasons that have more than one 4 star episode and investigate what makes those seasons tick.
William B
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
In addition to general series, it also helps/harms individual seasons of those shows to a lesser extent; see the thread for The Icarus Factor, where Patrick asks if Jammer really thinks The Icarus Factor and Family (both 3* shows) are actually equivalent, and Jammer jokes that he thinks TIF is better before saying that he's really rating them relative to what TNG s2 looks like versus s4 -- which is even two years apart. Now that said, I think that even relative to those respective seasons, Jammer overrates The Icarus Factor and seriously underrates Family, but the fact remains that he acknowledges some floating of the levels for the different ratings. That said, except for cases like that, I'm not sure that the rating variance is *so* huge between different TNG seasons, because you can see s2's extreme unevenness in the ratings, and he doesn't really pull punches on the several really bad episodes, even if not-that-successful shows which have some bright patches of characterization and interesting long-term implications like Icarus get a bit of a boost.
William B
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
(Lest it seem like I really hate The Icarus Factor: I think the Worf subplot is funny and effective, and the IDEA of Will's conflict with Kyle Riker ends up being very important for Riker's character, and the transition in the character from the hyper-ambitious rank-climber to the more settled man in BOBW and beyond, so it's an important episode, just that the execution of the main story isn't great.)
William B
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
For the record (I know this has been done before): number of 4* episodes (according to Jammer) -- where here I'll also count 2-hour/2-part episodes with a single rating as 2 eps (e.g. All Good Things, Occupation/Precipice from BSG)

5: DS95,7; BSG4
4: TNG3,5,7; DS96; BSG2,3
3: TNG4; DS92,3,4; BSG1
2: TNG2; VOY5,6; ENT1
1: TNG1; DS91; VOY2,3,4,7; ENT2,3; Andromeda 1; Caprica (as long as reviewed)
0: VOY1; ENT4; Discovery s1; Orville thusfar; Andromeda 2.
William B
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Forgot TOS, whoops:

3: TOS2
2: TOS1
1: TOS3.
Plain Simple
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
@Nievesg: "I recall commander "Trip" Tucker was called "Captain" at ENT in a couple of episodes, when he was in command as "acting captain", although his real rank was still a commander.

I guess the same applies to Saru at the MU episodes. A pity Saru wasn't promoted to real captain rank, he really earned it."


@Peter G. "Whoever is in command of a naval vessel is called Captain, regardless of their rank. This also includes non-military vessels."

This is also mentoned in an early season 6 DS9 episode by O'Brien to Nog when Dax takes command of the Defiant after Sisko gets a desk job as sidekick to the admiral.

But my initial point was that in this episode the crew is supposed to believe that 'Captain Georgiou' is in command of Discovery, yet someone calls Saru captain. Would just the fact that she is on the planet with an away team justify calling Saru captain? When Kirk and Spock would beam down on an away mission, did the remining crew address Scotty as captain?
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
@ Plain Simple,

"But my initial point was that in this episode the crew is supposed to believe that 'Captain Georgiou' is in command of Discovery, yet someone calls Saru captain. Would just the fact that she is on the planet with an away team justify calling Saru captain? When Kirk and Spock would beam down on an away mission, did the remining crew address Scotty as captain?"

I don't recall the exchange, but assuming that's what happened maybe we can surmise that the crew didn't really accept Georgiou as being their new Captain. Or maybe they were confused about who the current Captain was. Or maybe the writers were. It's probably the last one.
Plain Simple
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer: "If you're looking for Michelle Yeoh movies, perhaps an obvious place to start would be "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which was a big international mainstream (and Oscar-nominated) endeavor outside her action genre roots. (Watch it with the subtitles, not dubbed.)"

Thanks! I think I did watch that many many years ago, but didn't realize (or remember) it had Yeoh in it. Since I cannot remember much of it anyway, it might be time for a rewatch.

And thanks for your insightful and entertaining reviews throughout yet another season of Trek!
Mitchell
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
Yeah...I mean, I can understand them winning because...L'Rell or Tyler or someone takes over and likes them, but...The "Big Bomb" thing?

I'm wondering if the Mirror Mommy plotline was added halfway through. (Partly due to protests on killing her off?) That might explain some of the clumsiness.

I mean, I can see her being WANTED to be used in it...but, well? It feels like Lorca's 'Pure Evil', and such was reversed. (Also, the bomb is just OY)

I'm betting that the last bits, where it kinda collapses, are the parts where they only had vague ideas, not detailed notes.
Yanks
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
"Out of 29 seasons of Trek, there have been only three without a single four-star-episode as reviewed by Jammer: VOY1, ENT4, and DIS1."

Well, I had three 4.0 episodes in DSC (Magic Makes the Sanest Man Go Wild, Into the Forrest I Go, What's Past Is Prologue) and two in Voyager Season 1 (Eye of the Needle and State of Flux). I haven't finished reviewing Enterprise yet, but I know at least three off the top of my head that will be 4.0 (IAMD, Observer Effect and Demons/Terra Prime).

I was surprised Jammer didn't give 'Into the Forrest I go' a 4.0. Voyager season 1 is currently my highest ranked trek first season (-DSC). I still have TOS and TNG to go.

Maybe it's not fair to grade DSC against other seasons that are 22+ episodes long.

I'm not sure what it all means, other than we all have our favorites. My numbers indicate that DSC season 1 was the best, but it's not my favorite because of how they ended it. It was a fun ride, but the bridge collapsed and we all died at the end.
Trent
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Jammer massively underrates TOS' first season. If he rewatches the remastered versions today, he'd probably throw a couple more four stars here and there. IMO, Balance of Terror, Miri, Conscience of the King, The Galileo Seven, Court Martial, The Devil in the Dark, Errand of Mercy and the City on the Edge of Forever are all 4 star episodes. Arena, A Taste of Armageddon, The Return of the Archons and five or six others come close as well. There's a reason Trek became a giant franchise, and it's because TOS' first season was exceptional.

After TOS, I think DS9 has the strongest first season. The world building was great, and you can see that a lot of planning went into how the plots thematically fit in with the show's premise. I would argue its first season has 11 very good episodes, 3 or 4 of which are great: Emissary, Past Prologue, A Man Alone, Captive Pursuit, Dax, The Nagus, Vortex, The Storyteller, Progress, Duet, In the Hands of the Prophet. When you skip the bad eps, DS9's first season really unfolds like a rich novel.
Nolan
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 4:10am (UTC -5)
Thought I'd wade in on the first season dicussion with my thoughts. Being in the process of watching through all Star Trek chronologically (excepting Discovery of course, like it fits anyway) and nearly finished DS9 and over halfway through Voyager, which I hadn't seen in a very long time, I felt that of all the first seasons, Voyager's felt the most consistant. It actually showed good promise. And had decent episode to episode continuity and call backs. Shame it didn't last. But for a show I'd regarded as being my least favorite of the franchise, it was a pleasent surprise.
Trent
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Yup, Voyager has good continuity outside of Ensign Kim. Nice and mild and unobtrusive. I would say the best episodes in season 1 of VOY are: Parallax, Time and Again, The Cloud, Eye of the Needle, Prime Factors, State of Flux, Heroes and Demons, Faces, Learning Curve. They're not great episodes though, with only Eye of the Needle IMO coming close. The other series' had better 1st season peaks.
maq
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Having watched the series during an intense weekend I must say that am am not disappointed. Was it what I had expected? Not really. Did I like that the episodes are not really free standing? No. There are a lot of flaws. But what did I like? Definitely the characterisations. They are much more living and complex. Although Saru and Burnham mages to show a mutual dislike and respect. Tilly is sometimes just babbling and sometimes so very smart. She can be lovable she can be tough. There are strengths there are weakness. It ries to give glimpses of the social life. Like the party in the Mudd episode.
Personally I would like to have more freestanding episodes. Still I did not really find a complete weak episode. The very strange ending of the war was a real anti-climax. But endings have never been the strong in star trek. I very much liked Tilly getting hig and still keeping her head cool.
Season one was good, if they manage to improve it would be even more enjoyable. I hope the fact that Burnham now is a “normal” officer does not make it more traditional.
Nievesg
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
@plain simple:
Well, if Geourgiou is down on the planet, yes: this justifies calling "captain" to whoever takes the job of "acting captain" on the ship, but only while she's out.
(Geougiou never returns btw, but that's a different story, LOL).

@Yanks:
I agree, specially Demons/Terra Prime. And I add to my 4-star ENT list:
Cogenitor
The last 5 episodes of the Xindi season (except the hatchery).
The first episode of the last Romulan story
The Kirs'hara trilogy (not just the lovely Vulcan journey and Surak's philosophy, but also the terrific bomb of the old Vulcan war, and Trip acting as a real captain to prevent a new war).

Sorry, a question: can you please remind me the full title of ENT's episode IAMD? Thanks!
Paul M.
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
@Trent: "Jammer massively underrates TOS' first season. If he rewatches the remastered versions today, he'd probably throw a couple more four stars here and there. IMO, Balance of Terror, Miri, Conscience of the King, The Galileo Seven, Court Martial, The Devil in the Dark, Errand of Mercy and the City on the Edge of Forever are all 4 star episodes. Arena, A Taste of Armageddon, The Return of the Archons and five or six others come close as well. There's a reason Trek became a giant franchise, and it's because TOS' first season was exceptional."

TOS Season 1 really is something special. If you can get past that silly 60s overacting (actually, TOS acting was more in line with 30s-50s cinema) and the dated approach to storytelling, it was very thought-provoking, bold, and just plain fun to watch. Honestly, as much as I love 21st century plot- and character-oriented TV paradigm, which has also been increasingly present in Trek (DS9, ENT, especially Discovery), with each passing day I miss the old-school idea- and symbolism-driven Trek that is epitomized by TOS and TNG. Don't get me wrong, I love DS9 for its departure from Trek norms, but I can't help but feel that pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.
Jrpl
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
One thing that I appreciate watching old eps of TNG is how it's not covered in wall to wall music. You get to hear a lot of ambient sounds and the constant hum of the ship. I love a good orchestral score, but the times when the score would drop out made the Enterprise feel more real to me. Gave the show a neat atmosphere that I appreciate more with age.
Plain Simple
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
Red Letter Media reviewed the season and are having many of the same observations and issues with it that have been brought up here : https://youtu.be/ri7v-utIcvY
Plain Simple
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
@Henson: "Does that now mean we need to insert a character from Discovery into the pilot for TOS?"

Now that you mention it, the salt eating creature from The Man Trap does look a bit like the tardigrade. ;-)
Other Chris
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 12:50am (UTC -5)
@Nievesg "IAMD" is In A Mirror Darkly, the Mirrorverse two-parter.
MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 1:30am (UTC -5)
... I remember when I made a Sonic the Hedgehog comic book in 5th or 6th grade, and stayed up so late that I just wrote 4 one word lines of dialogue between Sonic and Tails in a single frame and called it a night.

That's what this ending feels like to me. Eh.
Nievesg
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 10:47am (UTC -5)
@other Chris: Thanks! It was a parody, but omg a really good one! Awesome sets, conspirations, action, references to TOS at both PU and MU clothing, the Defiant bridge&bodies...and actors looked like really having fun! And the special credits! As a stravaganza, it's my guilty pleasure :)
Nievesg
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 11:19am (UTC -5)
@Midshipmannorris, Jammer, Plain Simple and well, most of us:

I love action and I felt quite ok (2 or 3 stars) with most of Discovery... but I absolutely agree with you all on this: I felt the ending rushed an poor!
A bomb in custody of L'Rell out of the blue?

The episode was watchable for me until 75%. But I found the last 15 minutes empty because...honestly, something was missing indeed.
I mean, c'mon, was it so difficult to include a scene where L'Rell earns enough trust from the Federation to get custody of the doomsday button? (And/or to explain how she'll use it to end internal divisions of klingons?).
L'Rell used to be interesting until she deserted from the Sarcophaggus ship...

The sad part is, it could have been done. Either by using conversations or action - please just a scene to make us believe how L'Rell arrives to a balance between her unionist priorities and Starfleet's, and how other Klingons will accept her views. (Same as the excellent scenes showing how Ash/Voq comes to terms with his memories of 2 lifes, but the L'Rell version. It's important if we must believe she's the solution).

Perhaps it's suggested it happened offscreen, but for Star Trek understanding is important, and such an exceptional understanding between humans and a klingon deserved to happen on screen...
Chrome
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 11:34am (UTC -5)
"The sad part is, it could have been done. Either by using conversations or action - please just a scene to make us believe how L'Rell arrives to a balance between her unionist priorities and Starfleet's ... Perhaps it's suggested it happened offscreen, but for Star Trek understanding is important, and such an exceptional understanding between humans and a klingon deserved to happen on screen..."

L'Rell discussing the plan with the Discovery crew certainly happened off-screen, but that's the problem. It takes some pretty clunky directing to come to the conclusion that having a few comedy scenes at the Orion outpost are more important to the series than scenes tying up its fifteen-episode main story arc. I suppose since it's a new show, I can cut them some slack. TNG and even DS9 had some real clunkers in the first season, and those shows had a more talented staff than DSC's. It's certainly going to be a different show from here on out without a war driving the tension of the show.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"I suppose since it's a new show, I can cut them some slack."

You really shouldn't, there is no excuse. The writing team for episodes like the finale has no brain, period end of story. This isn't a 'we need to catch our stride' thing, it's that they don't know how to write at a professional level or do even college level story editing. The problem here isn't the story, but how the story is told, which is the complete opposite problem Trek usually had in the past.

"TNG and even DS9 had some real clunkers in the first season, and those shows had a more talented staff than DSC's."

TNG, and even more so DS9, had problems with *weak stories* in their early seasons. But when a great story came along it was told with excellence. Those shows needed to hit their stride in figuring out what sorts of stories needed to be told, and which to exclude. They needed to learn which scripts to reject, and which to commission if no one was writing them. Overall the problem wasn't the direction or the acting, but just the plot of the episode that was sometimes lame. True, The Masterpiece Society might have been good if written by a genius, but overall the story just isn't very gripping no matter how it might have been written. DS9 is legendary in my mind for having many pedestrian episodic plots in S1-2, even though the characterization, direction, and world building is first rate. Some of these stories ended up being more interesting than they had any right to be, like Babel, where parts of it are quite entertaining even though on paper the story to me seems utterly pointless. So in a sense the show-runners managed to elevate mediocre material because of the strength of the show ethos and tone.

Contrast that with Discovery where, putting aside my objections with certain story points (like the mutiny, the tardigrade, the spore drive, etc), there was plenty of maneuvering room to tell a great story but where the quality of the shows was compromised by a lack of a show ethic and clear direction. Sometimes episodes would have content where I didn't even know what they were trying to say, and sometimes didn't even know what was literally happening. I think a lot of this can boil down to the fact that, as storytellers, the DISC team didn't have something to say to us, whereas TNG and DS9 (even early VOY) had very messages about the world and a show tone to match. DISC is all about the plot but not about the writers connecting to the audience. They truly don't have anything important to communicate to us, and that's the core of art in my opinion. It's a more narcissistic affair here, and I'll explain why I think so.

In previous Trek series, even ENT, the episodes focus on how the crew look outward towards the unknown in search of understanding (even in a stationary show like DS9). We learn about the crew, but via *their process* of looking at the world. We see them through their own struggle to see and learn. But in DISC it's more or less the reverse direction, where the story is mostly about the individual characters and their point of view *of each other*. The major events in the shows seem to point towards the characters, where for example a significant plot arc serves simply as a means of learning something new about Burnham and has no significance in its own right. It's almost like galactic events only exist so we can learn about Burnham, rather than the previous Trek approach, which was for the characters to exist only so that we could learn about the universe. The arrows on DISC are all pointing inward towards the characterizations, which may sound good at first glance but in fact the *manner* of it being about them is completely backwards. It's very in keeping with what I might call a contemporary way of people being obsessed with themselves and how they're perceived, and their own identities, rather than their identities being defined simply by how they interact with and explore the world around them. This inward-focused mentality seems to me core to DISC and paradoxically is what makes it nearly impossible to care about the characters. Michael being obsessed with solving a new race's problems might make us care for her, but the show being obsessed with her own problems makes her in some sense more like Barclay than anything else; she *needs help*, rather than being someone who can *help us* as an audience. In a funny way we, as people who have potential interest in her well-being, need to help raise her up by hoping for her to learn, whereas my personal feeling is that people on Trek should raise of the rest of the world.

But I digress; I think the particulars of the problems in DISC S1 go beyond not quite hitting the right footing yet. There's a fundamental problem in the general approach to storytelling here.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
"You really shouldn't, there is no excuse. The writing team for episodes like the finale has no brain, period end of story. This isn't a 'we need to catch our stride' thing, it's that they don't know how to write at a professional level or do even college level story editing. The problem here isn't the story, but how the story is told, which is the complete opposite problem Trek usually had in the past."

I don't expect *any* show to be at its best in the first season. It's not even a Star Trek concept that it takes most showrunners awhile to figure out what works and doesn't work. I'm not going to defend the poor editing, but I am among the few who liked how the story was told - with the huge caveat that there needed to be very smart ending to make up for stringing the audience along. That kind of story could've been done well, and it could still be done well.

"I think a lot of this can boil down to the fact that, as storytellers, the DISC team didn't have something to say to us, whereas TNG and DS9 (even early VOY) had very messages about the world and a show tone to match. DISC is all about the plot but not about the writers connecting to the audience."

Perhaps, but at least for TNG, VOY, and ENT they were just reusing an existing successful formula with a few tweaks. An episode boils down to: discover a strange spatial anomaly and/or disease, fix/cure strange anomaly and/or disease, lecture the Aliens of the Week about morality, warp off into the sunset, never look back. Only DS9 really tried something different, where the characters were forced to live with the consequences of each episode, which led to rich storytelling (Kira and Odo's relationship, for example) with no reset button. DS9 was taking a *huge* risk doing that - (in fact, the ratings for Star Trek tumbled significantly during DS9's run, but I think in the long term many fans enjoyed it the most.)

Obviously some geniuses (I say this a bit tongue-and-cheek) at the FOX network picked up on the fact that people liked the old Trek formula and have decided to keep milking that with a fresh universe on The Orville.

I guess the bottom line, for me at least, is that DSC is at least taking chances and trying a relatively creative approach to Sci-Fi storytelling. It's certainly susceptible to the risks you've pointed out here, but in the right hands with a clear direction I see some potential for shows that are both thrilling and contain a great message. Maybe someone just needs to grab the reigns and figure out exactly what DSC wants to say.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Chrome,

I actually agree that the story wasn't all bad and that some of the issues stem from editing (and direction, in my opinion). Sometimes writers will have a hard time being inspired when the leadership is weak, and I can understand how lackluster dialogue or plotting might possibly stem from feeling shackled by management. But even so I have to question the basic skills of a writer who put so much time in the finale to the Orion sector. That's not just a question of finding the right balance, it's a basic lack of judgement. I could have looked at the script - actually I think most of us here could have - and immediately said "too much time in this camp, get to more important stuff." It's a no-brainer. So obviously the wrong person is making decisions there, or perhaps no one is, because that should never have been allowed to happen.

"I don't expect *any* show to be at its best in the first season."

Agreed. I'm not complaining about imperfection, but about a deficiency in the general attitude or approach to the material. If the scripts are very uneven then, hey, they tried their best. But the basic issues I've had with DISC are surprisingly consistent across the episodes. Even the best episodes (Into the Forest) had the same problems, but at least they were mitigated by the script being better than some others.

"I guess the bottom line, for me at least, is that DSC is at least taking chances and trying a relatively creative approach to Sci-Fi storytelling."

I think it's an old hat approach at this point. To be frank, telling one-off serialized stories would have been the marketing risk, since the most popular shows now are all serialized. And by the way, I'm not dissing that, I had no problem with the idea of DISC being serialized. My problem as I now define it is that their method of doing so is just to copy-paste the structure of Fringe and redo that show with new characters.

Ed
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
@Jrpl

A half-remembered joke from an old Cracked.com article on sci-fi cliches:

In space no one can hear you scream....because you're drowned out by the loud orchestral music. :)
Plain Simple
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 5:51am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.: " My problem as I now define it is that their method of doing so is just to copy-paste the structure of Fringe and redo that show with new characters."

In what way do you think DSC is copying the structure of Fringe? That show seemed quite different. It had quite a few stand alone stories (especially in earlier seasons) and well defined and likable characters which were given . DSC might get there, but I don't think it's there yet. Or do you see the same kind of inward-looking attitude in Fringe as you described for DSC?

I only watched Fringe a few years ago. That is obviously a very different way of viewing a show than on a weekly basis, so that might make me less likely to see the commonalities.
Skecko
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 7:56am (UTC -5)
DIS isn't supposed to come back on again until early 2019, hopefully, says Alex Kurtzman. He says it's because of the special effects which take 4-5 months per episode.

I have 2 things to say about that. It shouldn't take more than a year for the second season of a television show to air, that's ridiculous. And if it does, maybe cut down on the special effects and focus more on the storyline and writing. I, and I'm sure most ST fans would be willing to forego some of the effects if the plots were better. I don't need flashy visuals. I'd rather have a great story.

And also (reading between the lines somewhat), he basically said that Spock will not be a character and that Pike may be a character, and that you will not see the bridge of the Enterprise, but possibly some other locations on the ship.

I can't link a story for that, because I read it in several different places, it's all over the place if anyone just looks it up. :D

Anyway, my main beef is that because they are so interested in the effects, that they may have neglected the rest of the show.

It was delayed last time, partly because of Fuller leaving, but also I think partly because of the effects. And like I said, that's not so important. Who wants to wait a year or more to see the next episode, just so they can make the ships a bit shinier or whatever they are doing? I don't. I don't care if the ships look like cardboard boxes hanging from strings if the story is good enough.

Ed
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
@Skecko

"It shouldn't take more than a year for the second season of a television show to air, that's ridiculous. And if it does, maybe cut down on the special effects and focus more on the storyline and writing. I, and I'm sure most ST fans would be willing to forego some of the effects if the plots were better. I don't need flashy visuals. I'd rather have a great story."

And it would be one thing if the effects were used to create fascinating alien worlds. Instead they're mainly used for elaborate space battles and similar things. Despite the series' faults, I like it and want to see what happens next.

I'd gladly settle for space ships that were done in an updated version of the styles of DS9 and the better parts of ENT if I could see the show sooner and hopefully they would spend the money saved on better writing as well as better sets and locations representing the planets they should visit.

Every other Star Trek series has had "strange new worlds." This had a single decent one. And even in the MU, I'd rather have had the Emperor live a real palace the size of a city or visited her game preserve on Risa.
Dom
Sat, Feb 24, 2018, 8:29am (UTC -5)
@Peter G, 100% agree in your analysis on why Discovery's problems seem like more than just growing pains. I think the notion that the first season is rough but then shows inevitably improve is a holdover from the 80s and 90s. Back then, shows used to have a rough first season, hit their stride in the middle, then often stumble a bit during the final season. But that way of looking at TV is outdated and has been since the Golden Age of TV. Nowadays, many shows put their best foot forward right out of the gate, but shows tend to stumble over time as writers try to find ways to extend the story for additional seasons. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that the first seasons of Lost, BSG, and Game of Thrones were the best of their respective series. Some of those shows had very strong later seasons, but never again quite fired on all cylinders.
Jrpl
Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Ed: That's good :)

Best sci fi score in recent memory for me was the sparse soundtrack to Duncan Jones' Moon. Real moody and put you in that space (no pun intended) with Sam Rockwell's character(s).
BZ
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 8:08am (UTC -5)
@Dom,
I think BSG was consistently good until about the last season when it became apparent that the creators had no idea how to end the show. That is simply inexcusable on a serialized show. Of course Trek is known for this type of thing in individual two-parters, where part 2 is often written by a different writer after part 1 is already done. I can't speak for the other shows you listed since I've never watched them.
KT
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 10:29am (UTC -5)
@BZ who said "BSG was consistently good"

Really?! Even that s1 episode where the centuri ambassador had a love affair? And then about 5 eps later he chastises his nephew for having one, before proudly saying he's had 3 wives and couldn't stand any of them. A further few episodes later he tells Garibaldi that he married a dancing girl he fell for on the spot. There's nothing consistent or good about s1 B5 imo ...
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 10:41am (UTC -5)
KT BSG stands for Battlestar Galactica not Babylon 5.

But you criticism is silly in any event. Londo didn't marry Adira, he just had an affair with her. His nephew wanted to *marry* his love which is totally different under Centauri custom.

While Londo's affair was ill-advised and obviously caused him untold anguish (as we learn later) it was not at all the same situation as with his nephew. Londo did his duty to his family and married the women he was arranged to marry, despite hating them.
Paul M.
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 11:04am (UTC -5)
I don't know KT, I personally enjoyed the first season of Battlestar 5. My favorite episode was the one where Baltar and G'Kar try to find out how Shadows managed to disable Colonial defenses. I also liked it when, at the start of Season 2, Captain Sheridama arrived to take command of Babylactica. Great stuff!
Ed
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 11:23am (UTC -5)
@Jrpl

Moon was excellent! It's soundtrack was perfect for that kind of science fiction and something like it may be good in other kinds as well.

When it comes to a soundtrack for a more space opera/soft sci-fi setting, I'd prefer a continuum with a traditional heavy musical score sometimes and at other times a more minimalist score. Occasionally none. I'd also like to cut back on or eliminate sound effects in space caused by things actually going on in the story.

While as far as I'm concerned, this is just a way of dramatizing the actions of the different ships and weapons and do not constitute a claim that there is sound in space (until a character seriously claims to hear an explosion outside the ship or another ship approaching), it would be kind of cool to see action in space either in silence or with only music in my opinion.
Steven
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
>> "I guess the bottom line, for me at least, is that DSC is at least taking chances and trying a relatively creative approach to Sci-Fi storytelling."

> "I think it's an old hat approach at this point. To be frank, telling one-off serialized stories would have been the marketing risk, since the most popular shows now are all serialized. And by the way, I'm not dissing that, I had no problem with the idea of DISC being serialized. My problem as I now define it is that their method of doing so is just to copy-paste the structure of Fringe and redo that show with new characters."

Let me be more explicit than Peter G here and say that DIS uses one of the "safest" formulas of any Trek series, which makes it all the more astounding how much the series stumbles, despite the bar being as low as it is. Basically, they don't even risk much and still mess up what little they aspire to.

Serialized storytelling has been the norm since the early 2000s. It's nothing spectacularly new. The grade of innovation is comparable to "Enterprise", a series that (in my opinion) failed because it was simply a more boring version of the Trek that had come before it. Similarly to Enterprise, Discovery can't be called particularly "creative" in what it does. And besides, the turn towards serialized storytelling can already be seen in Enterprise, seasons 3 and 4. The whole of season 3 is just one big arc.

Also thank you, Peter G, for your observation that Jammer's ratings have to be seen as a "sliding scale" whose low- and hi-points are readjusted for every show. With that in mind, I can use my personal "correction factor" for his DIS ratings: Distract one star from Jammer's scores, and they feel about right, compared to the older Trek.

It would be interesting to give new scores in retrospect, though. One good example would be the second part of the pilot: I think it has become more and more obvious, over time, just how catastrophic this episode is for the overall arc, because it contains two cardinal errors that damaged Michael's character: First, her misguided attempt to shoot at the Klingons without provocation, and secondly her mistake to shoot T'Kuvma when Georgiou was already dead, and despite saying before the mission that it was imperative not to kill T'Kuvma and create a martyr. And five minutes later, she does. I recognized pretty much instantly how egregrious both mistakes were, but to be fair the magnitude of the failure (on the writers' part) only became fully clear when we learned during the course of the season that Michael was supposed to be a genius, champion of morality and so on. I wonder whether in such a light, the score of older episodes should be lowered. It feels wrong to me to give the two parts of the pilot the same score, because the second part screwed up which could've been a salvagable setup from part 1.
Steven
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
So that you don't misunderstand me: I get the idea that Michael was supposed to make mistakes in the pilot, so that she could "redeem" herself later. That was an important development for her character. However, what they needed to do is to have Michael make bad decisions that the audience could actually sympathize with. Decisions that didn't make the viewer hate her. Frankly, by the end of the pilot, I was *satisfied* to see her thrown into prison and I couldn't care less about what would happen to her. I basically wanted to switch to another character and never hear of Michael Burnham again. Now, by the end of the season, I've finally come to find her bearable; that's the most positive thing I can say about the character.
Chrome
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
“Serialized storytelling has been the norm since the early 2000s. It's nothing spectacularly new. The grade of innovation is comparable to "Enterprise", a series that (in my opinion) failed because it was simply a more boring version of the Trek that had come before it. Similarly to Enterprise, Discovery can't be called particularly "creative" in what it does. And besides, the turn towards serialized storytelling can already be seen in Enterprise, seasons 3 and 4. The whole of season 3 is just one big arc. ”

I never said serialization alone was what made DSC good, there were other things the show did like tell a story from low-ranking officer’s point of view, kill off characters who were series regulars like Culber and Lorca, and have a ship that was so fast it boggles the mind about its potential. Also, like you said, Enterprise was just trying to be like TNG or other Trek shows in another time period. DSC did not do that, however. Instead it really challenged people’s conceptions of what Star Trek is. Like the show or not, it spurred a ton of discussion about what the franchise is (or should be) about.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"Like the show or not, it spurred a ton of discussion about what the franchise is (or should be) about."

So did the Star Wars sequels...and I wish they hadn't. :(
Chrome
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
I think the Star Wars prequels beat the sequels to the punch, but that’s a whole other discussion.
Dom
Tue, Feb 27, 2018, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
@Steven, that's the thing. Discovery feels like it was heavily serialized because that's what other prestige TV shows do. (and because CBS wanted people to keep subscribing to CBS All Access). It doesn't feel like the writers came up with a story first and then decided how to tell that story most effectively. Serialization isn't innovative or interesting anymore. The Discovery writers had the benefit of seeing how shows like GoT and Expanse did serialization, but it seems like they just ignored many of the lessons writers have learned over the past 20 years.
Nic
Wed, Feb 28, 2018, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Abigail Nussbaum brought up an interesting point on her blog Asking the Wrong Questions:

"What's even more problematic about the attempted genocide storyline is how it reveals the shallowness of Discovery's idea of Star Trek. Like the reboot movies before it, Discovery seems to think that the most--perhaps the only--interesting question to ask within the Star Trek universe is "should we have a Federation?" Does it, for example, make a civilization weak to live in peace and prosperity? And what happens when such a society meets an existential threat? Does it give up its values and civil liberties in order to survive? But the thing is, this is literally the most boring, basic question one can ask about Star Trek. The real challenges posed by a society like the Federation aren't questions of IF, but of HOW. How do you create a truly just, fair, equal society? How do you balance freedom of conscience and opinion with your core values of tolerance and peace? How do you prevent the exploitation of those who are weaker than you? How do you help people outside your society, and do you have the right to encourage them to be more like you?

It's been close to twenty years since any work with Star Trek in the title even tried to address these questions, and in some ways Discovery feels like it's going backwards. Even as it prides itself on honoring Federation values in its big moments, it misses their complete violation in its small ones. When Burnham arrives on Discovery in a group of other prisoners--who are apparently being press-ganged to work in dilithium mines--they're greeted by security chief Landry (Rekha Sharma), who remarks that "I see we're unloading all kinds of garbage today". When Lorca and Tyler are held prisoner by the Klingons and mount an escape, they leave behind a fellow Federation citizen who had been informing on them to their captors, even though he begs to be taken along. Worst of all, only two episodes before Discovery's crew refuses to blow up Qo'noS, they blow up the Imperial City-Ship in the mirror universe, with probably tens of thousands of people on board, without anyone even mentioning the subject of collateral damage. At best, this is sloppy writing. At worst, it's an indication that Discovery's writers have only the faintest, broadest understanding of what Federation values are. That whenever they're not writing a story that is explicitly about Federation values, they default to some kind of space opera standard where heroic characters shoot first, think only of themselves, and don't care what kind of society they live in."

That's a shame, and while Discovery may one day become a good show, I seriously doubt that it can one day be good Trek.
Jason R.
Wed, Feb 28, 2018, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Nic it is amazing how even as late as the Voyager series, they go out of their way to avoid hurting others, even when those others are shooting at them. It isn't even a specific plot point that is part of the story like Spock wishing to avoid killing the Yetis in Galileo 7 or Picard not wanting to destroy the Crystalline Entity in Silicon Avatar. In Voyager they almost always choose to disable rather than destroy an attacker as a matter of course. The same was true in DS9, and certainly STNG.
Dom
Wed, Feb 28, 2018, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
@Nic & Jason, I agree, it's the fact that Discovery just overlooks so many of those ethically difficult moments that really unsettles me. I'd have been a bit more accepting of the genocide plot if the crew had actually debated it and it felt like everyone was making a big deal out of it (a la "I, Borg"). That scene with the prisoners in the 3rd episode was especially troubling. That Landry was NOT from the MU, yet she behaved like a corrupt prison guard. Not only was her behavior way out of line for the 23rd century Federation, it would also be considered inappropriate and illegal today in 21st century America. In fact, far from striving to represent a better future for humanity, all too often the characters are less competent and less ethical than professionals in our own times.
Race
Fri, Mar 2, 2018, 2:21am (UTC -5)
I really can't believe this still got 2* from jammer... the obsolete scenes, the totally ridiculous ending, ...
This first season of STD is by far the worst star trek i've ever seen...
Chrome
Fri, Mar 2, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Well, 2 stars puts this at the same level as DS9's "Meridian" so I would say it's fair. Although Meridian is probably the more boring of the two, even though its concept was ambitious.
Tim
Thu, Mar 8, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
"Perhaps, but at least for TNG, VOY, and ENT they were just reusing an existing successful formula with a few tweaks. An episode boils down to: discover a strange spatial anomaly and/or disease, fix/cure strange anomaly and/or disease, lecture the Aliens of the Week about morality, warp off into the sunset, never look back. Only DS9 really tried something different, where the characters were forced to live with the consequences of each episode, which led to rich storytelling (Kira and Odo's relationship, for example) with no reset button."

Ugh. Why do people repeat this nonsense about TNG?

Yes, TNG had episodes that fit that mold. Guess what? So did DS9.

TNG told the story of Worf's discommendation, followed Picard through his experience as Locutus and subsequent recovery, told complex geopolitical stories with both the Romulans and Klingons, explored the ethics of self-defense, first contact, gave screen time to military veterans and explored how war changed them, and allowed every character (even Wesley!) to grow and mature over the course of the series run.

I really hate the sense of superiority I read in posts like this one, as if DS9 was this complicated drama on par with Citizen Kane while the rest of Star Trek is inferior.

Jason R.
Thu, Mar 8, 2018, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Tim I think there was alot of growth in TNG and not all of it was just one off episodes. But we shouldn't deny the fact that most of TNG, like most of TOS, was episodic and could have been aired in any order. You can't say the same of DS9, especially in its last 3 seasons.

But that's okay. I used to disdain TNG's reset button formula and hold up DS9 as unambiguously superior. But you know what? I find myself coming back again and again to TNG while only occasionally watching DS9. There is no question that TNG is the series with tremendous rewatchability. The same is true of TOS.

I no longer see "arcs" or serialized storytelling as the be all end all.
Dom
Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 9:29am (UTC -5)
@Tim & Jason, totally agree. I can't stand it when reviews claim that a show's being serialized is proof of its quality. Serialization is a means of telling a story, not an indicator of the quality of that story. Serialization has some very real limits, one of which is that you need to spend a lot of time setting up plot points that will only pay off down the road. Serialized TV also isn't as focused or memorable as a tightly constructed episode of episodic or procedural TV (aside from a few Big moments). How many people can really remember what happened in and individual episode of Game of Thrones, or even the more serialized parts of BSG or DS9? By contrast, I bet everyone here can remember pretty clearly what happened in TNG's "Darmok" or "I, Borg."

I really think Discovery missed an opportunity to stand out from the crowd by not being episodic. As a serialized show, Discovery just suffers in comparison to all of the other better written serialized sci-fi shows on TV now.
Paul M.
Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 10:42am (UTC -5)
@Dom: "How many people can really remember what happened in and individual episode of Game of Thrones, or even the more serialized parts of BSG or DS9? By contrast, I bet everyone here can remember pretty clearly what happened in TNG's "Darmok" or "I, Borg.""

Eh, I can't speak about other people, but I can remember perfectly well what happened in individual memorable episodes of those series. To mention the most obvious examples, "Rains of Castamere", "Hardhome", and "Winds of Winter" are among the best GoT episodes and their "bestness" comes from being the culmination of so many episodes of earlier plot development and character growth. BSG's New Caprica arc -- "Lay Down Your Burderns through Collaborators -- is arguably the pinnacle of BSG that includes some of the series' very best individual episodes.
Peter G.
Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Personally I think it's almost axiomatically true that when you have a plot spread over multiple episodes that it's hard to recollect or place exactly which conversation or event happened in each episode. The more serialized the story is - the point of an episode beginning *exactly where* the last left off - the less they are even structurally separate entities and more one long story cut into segments.

For all the love I have for DS9's closing serial arc, I truly wouldn't be able to distinguish between the name of one episode and another what exactly happens in each. And I've seen this series many times! I basically think of that whole arc as one continuous story and have never worried about whether one is better than the other or which neat scene is in which. Jason is surely correct that this is one thing TNG holds over DS9, which is that the episodes as stand-alone entities hold more weight individually than DS9 arc-episodes. There are certain exceptions, for instance Sacrifice of Angels, where I definitely see that one as being uniquely its own story, but overall DS9 did sometimes engender (to the benefit of its consistent tone) the feeling of the episodes all blending in with each other in terms of adding texture to the world. I can and do watch TNG episodes in any order, where I *never* watch DS9 unless I'm doing a straight watch-through of the whole series. I do that every few years, but in between don't watch odd episodes. I never, ever do complete watch-throughs of TNG but consistently go and watch randoms episodes all the time.

I don't vote this as a preference for either one, as I've probably seen them roughly equal amounts, but they have a very different feel to them in terms of how I approach viewing them. For a show like DISC that is far more serialized than DS9, I suspect that a full watch-through would be more or less mandatory for the episodes to have any impact, in which case someone would have to really want to watch the series to get invested in that process. That's a huge problem with serialization: with Voyager I may find 75% of it to be garbage but I definitely do go back and watch the ones I like, whereas I think I wouldn't if it was all serialized. It would be all or nothing, and in the case of DISC the answer would have to be: nothing. So there is the concern that by serializing the show they've created the situation where it either has to be very good, or else will have no one re-watching it after a while. Who's going to commit to watching whole seasons in a row when they really only liked 2-3 episodes in it?
Dom
Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
@Paul, case in point. What most people remember from those episodes are the Big Moments, like the Red Wedding, the climax, the payoff moments. The episodes themselves don't usually tell a memorable STORY, it's only part of a story. Even some of the episodes you mentioned have a lot of other content not directly related to the Big Moment because the show still has to get characters from A to B to C. The "story" is really everything that happens in the show leading up to those big moments.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with this. It's different. My point wasn't to try to bash serialization so much as to point out that it's not inherently superior. By condensing a fairly complete story into a single episode, episodic TV can create more memorable individual stories because it's simply easier for most people to remember a shorter narrative than the intricacies of larger one.

@Peter = brings up another good point. How many people will never rewatch Lost or BSG because they think the ending ruined the show? How many people disappointed by the ending are going to not recommend those shows to their friends? I personally am ok if a show doesn't have a perfect ending, but serialization increases the risk that a few bad moments can spoil the whole thing.
Trent
Sat, Mar 10, 2018, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
TNG writer Melinda M. Snodgrass, who wrote some of TNG's more intellectual/political episodes ("The Measure of a Man", "Pen Pals", "The Ensigns of Command", "The High Ground"), blogged about Discovery:

"A friend of mine who also works in the industry had the perfect word that incapsulated all my problems with the show: it’s lazy.

The writing is lazy with terrible on the nose and obvious dialogue. And because the dialogue is poor it leads to poor performances. Michelle Yeoh is lovely, but Sonequa Martin-Green is put in a dreadful position with how she is written. How can I support and root for a woman who takes such crazy actions against her beloved commanding officer? Against everything that Star Trek was supposed to represent?

Yes the cast is diverse and we have two women in command and that’s cool, but not when they present one woman as a hysteric. Burnham’s supposed to have been raised by Vulcans, but you’d never get that from her behavior. And of course she is Sarek’s adopted daughter. Another lazy choice. Look, I love Sarek, but I didn’t need him in this show and it just felt like a cynical attempt to mollify the old fan base.

They have once again taken another step to make the Klingon’s even more alien. While I can applaud that idea as a science fiction novelist the writer/producer thinks it was a terrible decision. The actors look like the are doing battle with their costumes and their make up particularly those teeth. The appliances make it almost impossible for them to emote, and for god’s sake fire up that universal translator.

The direction was flat and dull.

A reviewer for Ars Technica gave a breathless review calling the show gorgeous and fascinating. As I read her review I thought she was straining to add meaning that simply wasn’t on the screen. I wish I had seen the show she was watching, but I just didn’t. As one of my bosses, Ira Behr taught me — “If it ain’t on the page it won’t be on the screen, and if it ain’t on the screen it ain’t there.”

When I was a little girl and the Enterprise flew across our TV screen (the first color television in our neighborhood. All the neighbor kids came over to watch Star Trek at our house for that reason) I fell in love. It was my dreams made manifest, but more than that I met people who became my family — Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu. Trek has always been about family despite differences in gender, race, species, national background. This new show gave me no family. It gave me a woman who had found to be the antithesis of what I think Trek represented, one weird alien who talked about cows and a terrific captain who is apparently going to die so we lose not only the only really interesting character, but a great actress.

Television is at its core about company. We invite these people into our homes. In the old days it used to be once a week. Now we binge and spend hours at a time with them so they better be people with whom we wish to spend time, people we can like. The only person I saw last night that I want to see again was Captain Philippa Georgiou and apparently I’m not going to get to.

I know I criticized bringing in Sarek as too much of a call back to the older shows, but there is one thing that I think was the show runners having amnesia about the old show. Yes the costumes worn by the women of original Trek were sexist as hell, but this show is set ten years before Kirk and Spock. So where are those uniforms? Was the Federation aware of the need to outfit all crew members in sensible clothing, and then Trump became the president of the United Federation of Planets and suddenly we have micro mini-skirts? I think you have to be very careful as you are picking and choosing among which bits of canon to use and which to ignore and this one again left me head scratching. It might have been better to place this in JJ Abram’s alternate Trek universe to explain these odd differences.

The Arstechnica review states “It’s not so much that the future feels darker in Discovery. The future just feels more realistically complicated. We’re not trying to make the galaxy a better place anymore, kids. We’re in the real world.” If that’s what I had seen I might be plunking down money for CBS All Access, but I didn’t. And I think CBS and the show runners missed the show that could have done that. I have always wanted to see a Trek show about the people who don’t fit in, who chafe under Federation rule, but aren’t militant assholes like the Klingons and Romulans or flesh and blood creatures trying to turn into robots, the Vulcans, or crass capitalists like the Ferengi. I want Harry Mudd. I want the people living in the cracks, trying to make a buck, pull off a con, and try to avoid the judgmental eye of Star Fleet. That’s the real world too and I think it would have been fun to write and more fun to watch.

Maybe someday Star Trek will get that broomstick out of its ass and we’ll have that show."
Paul M.
Sun, Mar 11, 2018, 12:13am (UTC -5)
Well, she got her Harry Mudd wish!
Chrome
Sun, Mar 11, 2018, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
“Ugh. Why do people repeat this nonsense about TNG?”

To be fair, I was only speaking of TNG using the Trek formula in the context of there being little variation in the premise of several Trek shows. But TNG, if anything, was the master of the Trek formula - surpassing TOS most of the time, and being extremely influential to subsequent Trek and Sci-Fi of its time. They really captured lightning in a bottle with TNG’s take on the Trek formula. Yet, I don’t think they’ve ever been able to reproduce that magic again with the same formula. Similarly composed shows like Voyager or Enterprise certainly don’t hold a candle to TNG.

DS9 is a whole other animal with its serialization. Moreover, it works as a companion or counter-balance to TNG and it succeeds on that level.
Tim
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 10:00am (UTC -5)
@Jason

"I used to disdain TNG's reset button formula and hold up DS9 as unambiguously superior. But you know what? I find myself coming back again and again to TNG while only occasionally watching DS9."

My whole point is there is no "reset button," not with the frequency that is implied here, and DS9 was equally guilty of the "reset button" at times.

Random (two-part) episode to consider: "Descent." Data betrays the Enterprise, without consequence or follow up. DS9 did the same thing, with Quark in "Invasive Procedures," without the excuse of being under alien influence. Sisko violates direct orders on multiple occasions (example: "The Die is Cast") and is never held accountable.

Is this bad writing or a necessary conceit of television? I tend to think a little bit of Column A and B. "The Die is Cast" didn't NEED the Defiant to go off on a rescue mission, that subplot was just there to give us a cool space battle, which is kind of silly since we already had a cool space battle with the Romulan/Cardassian fleet. That episode could just as easily have ended with Garek and Odo in a runabout, allowed to leave unmolested by the Jem Hadar, because, "No Changeling has ever harmed another." Instead, they had Sisko violate a direct order, Eddington commit sabotage to stop him, and no consequences for either character.....

I do concur wholeheartedly on re-watchability. I catch all five classic series on "Heroes & Icons" and "BBC America." I've found myself going through Enterprise and Voyager and reconsidering some of my criticism of them. I catch every TNG episode that airs, if I'm home, and DVR the better ones when I'm not. DS9? I've picked a few of the greats ("In the Pale Moonlight") to DVR, but I'm not making a point to go through it like I am with Enterprise and Voyager, and I don't always turn it on like I do TNG. I give TOS the same treatment, FWIW, so it's not some inherent hostility to DS9, it's more of a "Been there, done that."
Tim
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 10:16am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

"They really captured lightning in a bottle with TNG’s take on the Trek formula."

"Similarly composed shows like Voyager or Enterprise certainly don’t hold a candle to TNG."

Basically agree. Like I said above, I've been re-considering my feelings towards Enterprise and Voyager. It's fair to say they don't hold to a candle to TNG, they've not aged nearly as well, but there are Sci-Fi series from the 1990s that are utterly unwatchable today (Seaquest DSV) and neither Voyager nor Enterprise are nearly that bad.

I'm developing a bit of a soft spot for Enterprise as I re-watch it; a fair bit about it greatly annoys me, like the decidedly non-IDIC Vulcans, but for set and setting, the sense of humanity just learning to walk and getting its space legs, it works. Same with Voyager, I've watched a few episodes I never caught before (most recently, "Flesh and Blood" and "Workforce") and I've actually enjoyed them. There are conceits, but they both feel like "Trek," much more than Discovery.

I find myself thinking that I judged Voyager and Enterprise too harshly when they were airing, having abandoned Voyager around Season 4 and never really giving Enterprise a chance. Not sure I'll bother to sit down and try to watch them in order, which I could easily do on Netflix, but I'll definitely keep DVR'ing the episodes I haven't seen, as they air on H&I and BBC America, and watching them as time allows.
4Q2
Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Well, I certainly enjoyed this first season of Star Trek: BSG.
Jacob
Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 12:13am (UTC -5)
Haha.. a bit harsh on BSG which I thought was mostly competent (though it managed to bore me to tears in the final season). But I certainly think that's what they were going for.
SpaceHippy
Sun, Mar 18, 2018, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
I wish there was a separate page for comments on the season as a whole. I think I was reasonably entertained episode to episode and I'd rate most a 2.5 or 3.0 but the season as a whole is far less than the sum of its parts. Despite being entertained by the episodes, when I step back and take a look at this first season, I'm terribly disappointed. I came out of this not caring about any of the characters and I'm just not "into it." The whole season arc was a wasted plot. If they wanted a dark Trek, DS9 did it wonderfully for the most part while still holding on to the Trek feel. BSG was dark but made you care about the story and the fate of characters that I came to love. For more modern comparison, the Expanse is light years ahead of DIS, and while dark and gritty, manages to keep you invested in the outcome and plot lines. I hope Jammer finds the time to review this great series someday. I honestly feel after this season 1 of DIS that it's time to retire Trek for good and let us enjoy what came before.
Dom
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 9:37am (UTC -5)
@SpaceHippy, agreed. There's no shame in letting the franchise retire. We have over 500 hours of decent Trek that we can watch or rewatch. In fact, rather than make more seasons of Discovery, why doesn't CBS take all of that money and upgrade DS9 (and Voyager) into HD. Heck, if CBS did that I wouldn't care if CBS made all Trek shows exclusive to CBS All Access. I'd pay for it.

I only saw Season 1 of the Expanse. I had trouble getting into it, but do want to check out Season 2 at some point.
Tim
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 11:18am (UTC -5)
I don't remember BSG being this dark. Maybe the difference is that Discovery is dark AND depressing, while BSG still managed to keep some upbeat notes, even as humanity was literally fighting for survival, stakes that Discovery never had.

Maybe it's just been a long time (years) since I saw BSG, and I've viewing it with rosy retrospection, but my "gut" feeling is that it's really unfair to BSG to equate it to Discovery in any way.

If I was to rate the Sci-Fi shows I've followed simply on "darkness," from most to least, it would probably go: Discovery, Babylon 5, BSG, and DS9. TOS/TNG/The Orville don't qualify as dark, so no reason to list them here....
Del_Duio
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Damn, as much as I loved the fact that they were doing a new Star Trek series overall I just don't really care for DSC. I didn't like ENT either but at least they were trying and it mostly made sense.

Now I don't even know if I'll re-up my subscription of S2 unless the show changes a lot.

Man, this sucks. :(
Yanks
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 10:43am (UTC -5)
@ Trent

..."Was the Federation aware of the need to outfit all crew members in sensible clothing, and then Trump became the president of the United Federation of Planets and suddenly we have micro mini-skirts?"

HAHA.... Make Trek Great Again!!

@ Chrome

"Similarly composed shows like Voyager or Enterprise certainly don’t hold a candle to TNG."

Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't. On the whole I might give you TNG, but it had more that it's share of clunkers.

@ SpaceHippy

"I wish there was a separate page for comments on the season as a whole. I think I was reasonably entertained episode to episode and I'd rate most a 2.5 or 3.0 but the season as a whole is far less than the sum of its parts. Despite being entertained by the episodes, when I step back and take a look at this first season, I'm terribly disappointed."

That's about how I feel. When you put all your eggs in the "season long arc" basket, you'd better not drop any eggs in the end. I think we got scrambled.

"I came out of this not caring about any of the characters and I'm just not "into it."

I won't go that far, there are many of the characters I really enjoyed.

"Expanse is light years ahead of DIS, and while dark and gritty, manages to keep you invested in the outcome and plot lines."

I don't know that you can really compare. I too like Thr Expanse, but what's so good about it is you don't know what's coming. That's the bad thing about doing a prequel, we already know what's coming.

"I hope Jammer finds the time to review this great series someday."

Jammer reviewing anything would be great.

"I honestly feel after this season 1 of DIS that it's time to retire Trek for good and let us enjoy what came before."

Well, I can't go there. I ALWAYS look forward to new trek, even if we are disappointed at times.
Chrome
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
"On the whole I might give you TNG, but it had more that it's share of clunkers."

TNG has clunkers, but they only make up about 25% of a given season on average. That percentage is about reversed for an average season of Voyager. The big advantage TNG has is that even when the episode isn't the best, the actors can still put on an enjoyable performance (take for example lower quality scripts like "Encounter at Farpoint" or "Datalore" or even "The Neutral Zone" which are all still pretty entertaining).
Panagiotis Karatasios
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
The difference between discovery' s first season and other bad first seasons in trek shows is that the other showd were episodic ( even ds 9 first season) while discovery had a , bad, story arc. Theis has more lasting consequences
Yanks
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 10:18am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome

"TNG has clunkers, but they only make up about 25% of a given season on average. That percentage is about reversed for an average season of Voyager."

That's just not true. Not even close. You can say you like one series over another, but Voyager didn't have near that many clunkers.

"The big advantage TNG has is that even when the episode isn't the best, the actors can still put on an enjoyable performance (take for example lower quality scripts like "Encounter at Farpoint" or "Datalore" or even "The Neutral Zone" which are all still pretty entertaining)."

Don't agree here either. From top to bottom, Voyager had a far superior cast when it comes to the acting department.

Want to match them up?

Stewart/Mulgrew - I'll give you a push here, but many would say Kate over Patrick
Frakes/Beltran - Frakes in my book, but it's close.
Dorn/Russ - Russ, and it's not close
Burton/Dawson - Dawson, and it's not close
McFadden/Picardo - Picardo, and it's not close
Sirtis/Ryan - Ryan, and it's not close
Spiner/Wang - Spiner, and it's not close
Wheaton/Phillips - ?????? :-)
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 11:40am (UTC -5)
@ Yanks,

"That's just not true. Not even close. You can say you like one series over another, but Voyager didn't have near that many clunkers."

I agree with Chrome's numbers, more or less, but regardless of the literal percentage of "clunkers" I think his overall point is that TNG's baseline is much better than Voyager's baseline, all things being equal. A mediocre TNG episode still excites me, even though I'll often skip it, whereas a mediocre Voyager stands a decent chance of making me groan. That being said, I think TNG produced a handful of episodes that are beneath almost anything Voyager produced as well, so the lows of TNG may be lower but overall the average episode is far more resonant and timeless.

About your crew ratings, I think you're on the mark about Doc and Seven, and I'd call Burton/Dawson a draw since Burton had a lot of cultural cred that came along with his presence that carried far more weight than you might realize on a rewatch 30 years later. Also his even tone is hard to compare against her fiery anger, and yet as a storyteller I think we can all agree that Burton is very capable.

For Stewart/Mulgrew I think you're reaching. Picard was literally the face of Trek years, and not because he was the star of the show, but because he embodied Star Trek. I happen to be a Kirk fan but I wouldn't deny that Stewart is probably one of the main reasons that Trek is still as popular as it is. And I like Mulgrew as I say this, but this one isn't even close.

As far as Frakes/Beltran I still don't understand why Frakes is so underrated. The humor and energy he brought to every scene is almost unmatched by anyone in that cast. I have no hesitation saying that far more than actors like Spiner or Dorn, Frakes pretty much carried the energy of the scenes much of the time, when it wasn't in Stewart's hands. Between the two of them the show had such a liveliness to it. Beltran barely looks like he even cared much of the time - which we know was literally the case. Not even close on this one either.

The weak links on each show are maybe hard to compare, except that...well, they got rid of Wesley, but not Neelix, so there's that. Overall I would omit the mediocre actors and just compare the best ones, which would make TNG vs VOY cast something like:

Stewart, Spiner, Frakes, Dorn
vs
Ryan, Picardo, Mulgrew, Russ

One telling difference here is that the strongest of the TNG cast were the main bridge crew (Troi aside), whereas the strongest of the Voyager cast were 'secondary characters', along with Janeway, despite the fact that these secondary characters began to largely dominate the scene time since the bridge crew were just so lifeless that writers couldn't use them. So that's a major issue, when the face of the show - the Starfleet bridge crew - aren't as interesting for the most part. So Voyager really sabotaged themselves right from square one with miscasting certain roles. Kim/Chakotay/Neelix ended up being mostly dead-end streets, and Tom Paris - while a good idea on paper to bring back Locarno - turned into a nothing-burger as well. The actor just wasn't as entertaining as he should have been.

Also, and this is critical, the entire TNG crew - even the weaker actors - had such a rapport that despite their technical chops they still came across as amiable. I certainly enjoy watching Deanna scenes with Riker, or with Data/Worf, even thought Sirtis isn't the best, because you can see the offscreen chemistry. On Voyager I feel that was lacking, and it was worst of all on ENT, where even Bakula says the show failed in part due to lack of chemistry among the cast. On VOY, even despite seemingly good individual people involved, it seemed like pulling teeth to get anyone to 'play along' with Picardo and later Seven. Picardo tried so hard to have fun and liven things up, and this is very hard to turn into anything when a wet blanket like Chakotay, Tom Paris, or Kim is the one sharing the scene with him. Say what you want about Troi, she still helped add to the general energy of her scenes.
Tim
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 12:46pm (UTC -5)
"Picard was literally the face of Trek years, and not because he was the star of the show, but because he embodied Star Trek."

One more reason why I just can't wrap my head around the logic that decided to base Discovery in the pre-Kirk era, or why the JJVerse movies sought to reboot the original series.

I liked TOS the TV show, as a campy 1960s Television Show, and I loved the movies, moreso than the TNG movies (even First Contact), but when I think about "Star Trek" it's the Picard era. There's a reason why the Enterprise-D studio model went for half a million bucks in the auction. Not the DS9 model, not any of the TOS models, the Enterprise-D model.....

TNG _is_ Star Trek for our generation.
Yanks
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Peter G,

Concerning your comments about Picard and Janeway... I was not referring to the characters, I was comparing the actors. Picard was the face of trek for years because there was no other trek for years (aside from the TOS movies). Kate played Janeway every bit as well as Stewart played Picard. You can argue about the writing, but not the performances.

As far as acting performances, you can say the same thing about DS9. Easily the best actors on the show were the "secondary" characters.

I don't dislike Burton at all, but Roxanne is a better actor. She didn't need any street cred to carry her.

Agree regarding Frakes. He always did very well, both in the series and the movies. Beltran did fine as an actor early on, but as you stated he lost interest late.

HAHA.... I new I forget someone. I won't knock McNiel's acting, but the character did lack. the Tom/B'Elanna thing helped in the end though.

When comparing Yoyager to TNG, it's almost universally accepted that Voyager's 1st two seasons were better.... they also were better than DS9's first two as well. So the number of "clunkers" is subjective I think. I haven't reviewed(graded) every episode of TNG yet, I have to finish Enterprise first.

I like your listing the strongest of each series. But taking one's love of the characters aside, I think the actors from Voyager in the case are stronger than TNG's.



Jason R.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
"One more reason why I just can't wrap my head around the logic that decided to base Discovery in the pre-Kirk era, or why the JJVerse movies sought to reboot the original series. "

Agreed 100%. Picard, not Kirk, was the face of the Trek franchise for my generation (born 1980) and you would think that alone would have pushed Abrams / CBS towards the TNG aesthetic, not backward to TOS. Certainly we are seeing a renaissance of 1980s themed television and movies, I presume owing to my generation's coming of age and commercial influence (much as we saw 1960s themed movies and tv 30 years ago to cater to the boomer generation)

But then again, I do think that anti intellectualism is rampant now, perhaps even moreso than in the 1980s, as well as an overall disdain for the kind of utopian ideals Picard espoused.

While I don't actually see Kirk as an anti-intellectual figure or even as contrary to the values Picard stood for (generally) I do think that many today have superficially branded Kirk with this label owing to his pop culture representation as an action hero / womanizer.

I think that philosophically, based on this false impression of the TOS era (via Kirk) Abrams may have seen a more hospitable setting for his brand of anti-intellectual Trek.

To be honest, I'm not sure what CBS was going for with Discovery. I wonder if they even put any thought into the decision to place it pre-TOS which seems like the worst of all possible worlds frankly. My personal theory is that someone liked the tagline "10 years before Kirk" and voila.
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.,

"To be honest, I'm not sure what CBS was going for with Discovery. I wonder if they even put any thought into the decision to place it pre-TOS which seems like the worst of all possible worlds frankly. My personal theory is that someone liked the tagline "10 years before Kirk" and voila."

If I had to pick a reason to make a prequel series - putting aside the desperate fascination now with reboots and prequels - it would be because I'd have the ability to write a character and story-driven show that didn't need to dwell on making up fancy technology and inventing a whole new future. A show post-Voyager would have required feats of imagination far more laborious than setting it pre-TOS where the bounds of the technology would be more or less fixed. That would theoretically make it much easier to avoid having to worry about what new tech to include.

So this makes it so ironic that in this pre-TOS series they decided to go ahead and invent new technology anyhow - stuff that is more advanced than Voyager's era - and revamp the looks of the ship interiors and other updates. If they were going to make up all this stuff when why not set it after? It just makes no sense.

So my conclusion is that they didn't actually have a 'good reason' but were just infected with prequelitis and rebootitis.
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
@ Yanks,

"Kate played Janeway every bit as well as Stewart played Picard. You can argue about the writing, but not the performances."

Err...yes I can :)

After taking the job, Stewart's agent apparently told him that taking the role of PIcard had been a good move after all, because a English actor from the Royal Shakespeare Company lent a credibility to the series that elevated above merely being a science fiction show, and I agree fully with this assessment. Take Stewart out of the show and there's not much of a show. I like Mulgrew and all, and actually feed offended *on her behalf* at a lot of Voyager's writing, but even so there's no way she could have carried episodes like The Inner Light, Chain of Command, and All Good Things. She had a charisma, but this kind of very intense acting wasn't in her wheelhouse. It's fine to have other strengths than playing highly dramatic scenes, but all the same even Stewart's combination of gravitas and tongue-in-cheek is virtually unparalleled. In a review of one of his movies Roger Ebert once said of Stewart something like "When he acts Stewart doesn't have to earn your respect, he already has it." This guy is a legend. I'm not trying to cast aspersions, I think in a way it's totally unfair to compare him to a TV actress.
William B
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
I'll add that TNG gets points for recurring cast -- not as much as DS9, but Goldberg, De Lancie, Meaney, and Michelle Forbes help the series enormously, and I'd argue that the average guest performance on TNG is better than on Voyager after the first two seasons, during which Voy did have a number of remarkable performers (James Sloyan, Joel Grey, Brad Dourif, Michael McKean). Dwight Shultz is I guess a wash since he recurs in both TNG/Voyager; De Lancie does too but post Death Wish his eps aren't worth it. Scarlett Pomers is a great child actress, Manu Intiraymi grows into the Icheb role, and Martha Hackett does the femme fatale thing well enough considering the character gets more cartoonish, but they aren't as big a boon and aren't given as much of a chance to develop into it as the aforementioned TNG figures IMO.
Tim
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
"Certainly we are seeing a renaissance of 1980s themed television and movies, I presume owing to my generation's coming of age and commercial influence"

Conversely, given the current trend in Hollywood, I'm kind of glad that my two favorite 80s shows HAVEN'T been rebooted: Magnum PI and TNG. My understanding is a Magnum reboot was in the works but didn't happen for whatever reason. I'm skeptical any reboot of those shows would meet expectations.

"A show post-Voyager would have required feats of imagination far more laborious than setting it pre-TOS where the bounds of the technology would be more or less fixed. That would theoretically make it much easier to avoid having to worry about what new tech to include."

Err, no offense, but you're making the worst mistake a would-be Trek writer can make, the mistake that Voyager writers made over and over and TNG started to do towards the end: Focusing too much on the tech. TNG did it right in Seasons 3 and 4, respect the rules of the universe and use the tech to tell a story, without it becoming the story. DS9 did the same throughout its run, with the exception of a few Season 1 clunkers.

You could write a post-Voyager story without reinventing the wheel. TNG didn't reinvent the tech wheel from TOS. If I were doing it, I would hand-wave away the Voyager finale, with regards to tech (not the characters/story), and just use the TNG vs. TOS model. Same tech, same rules of the road, just more advanced.

You don't have to talk about Transwarp this or Quantum Torpedo that, just make the new ship look more advanced than the old (it would anyway, thanks to improved production techniques) and don't overthink it.
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim,

Actually I wasn't referring to tech in the sense of making episode *stories* focused on technobabble, which indeed did become a blight. I mean more the issue of world building to show us what the future looks like, and yes, this should be primarily character driven but if you're not going to put the sci in the sci-fi then you may as well write a contemporary military show. DS9 didn't re-invent the wheel in terms of the overall level of technology, but they used technological details to help the storytelling. For example the creation of the Defiant - and for the matter other warships - to combat the Borg threat is completely sensible and a great way to excite our imagination. Showing us new life forms, such as the Founders and even the Trill in greater (retconned) detail is also a great use of a sci-fi setting. But for the gold star in creative backdrop without it really being the central focus check out the SW prequels. For all their faults one thing they did right was to introduce interesting and lovely technical details that made the world seem more filled in and nuanced, and the mere presence of these makes for visually interesting storytelling. Think back to the original trilogy, where the Falcon is a character unto itself, just like Enterprise D; this is good use of imaginative technical details.

Now the other area I think of when I want my sci in the fi is the use of cutting edge physics in episodes to show that the series has an eye on science and isn't just a bunch of random nonsense. A post-Voyager show would be harder to frame because the further in the future you go the less credible it is to employ modern physics and project that into the future. In TNG they make outstanding use of modern theories for the basis of episodes, only slipping up a few times such as in the episode where they mention that Fermat's Last Theorem hadn't been solved yet; this was a blunder to include in an episode, but the idea is sound, which is to cater the show to actual scientists. TNG used to thrill engineers and physicists, and that is a goal to aspire to, but much harder to do in a post-Voyager setting.

And yes, there is the Voyager finale :p Good luck setting technical continuity after that. My choice would be to retcon the finale as an alternate universe and suggest a continuity where Voyager never came back.
Jimmy
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
I don't understand anything the producers/showrunners are doing with Discovery.

Making the show a prequel makes little sense to me. They want to set the show in the cage era and insist its prime timeline. But nothing matches up at all. All the previous treks at least tried to make it all seem like the same universe just different eras. Like respecting the visuals and story. If they don't want the show to look like the TOS era because it looks too "primitive" for modern audiences, which I understand they really should've set it post-Voyager/Nemesis. All they would need to do is make some adjustments. Set the show several hundred years in Voyager/nemesis's future They could still have a faction of radical Klingons who are opposed to federation ideals. Instead of Sarek, just have another prominent Vulcan. Plus all the technology would make perfect sense because its in the future. People would expect technological advances. But setting the show pre-TOS era makes me feel like discovery is really not prime timeline but a different timeline having nothing to do with previous trek shows.

Also I don't understand why they have to re-imagine everything in trek now. I've heard there are licensing issues but doesn't CBS own the rights to the Star Trek prime designs? I was under the impression they only had to change the designs/iconography for the movies.
BZ
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
I'd say another reason to make a prequel is to explore how events lead up to what you already know about your favorite characters / races / etc. We got a bit of that in the JJ reboots (early in the first film mostly) and a bit more in Enterprise. We did get a tiny bit of this in Discovery (Sarek's relationship with Spock and more of his life pre-TNG), but not enough to justify it.

But it's not true that DSC being serialized means it can't recover from a bad first season. There is nothing from Season 1 that needs to ever be brought up again aside from the spore drive, which needs to be wrapped up, and Michael's basic character growth outline (which isn't bad as far as backstories go).
KT
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
@BZ @Jimmy

Explained also the discrepancies between early TOS Klingons and later, more warrior like Klingons, and possibly why women can't serve on the council; House Mokai turned the Klingon Empire into dishonourable spies!
Tim
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
"DS9 didn't re-invent the wheel in terms of the overall level of technology, but they used technological details to help the storytelling. For example the creation of the Defiant - and for the matter other warships - to combat the Borg threat is completely sensible and a great way to excite our imagination. "

I didn't care for the Defiant's concept or design, it felt like a bit of "me too!" in response to the White Star on Babylon 5, but I did REALLY appreciate the way they sold the concept within the story. She had teething problems and design issues, things that felt "real world," the Star Trek equivalent of the F-35. It annoys me in Voyager (and, to be fair, later TNG, Season 7 especially) when new technology is invented and implemented over a commercial break.

Geordi working on the Holodeck to come up with a solution to a pressing problem ("Booby Trap") that works within the confines of the Enterprise's systems makes sense. Voyager installing a Borg transwarp coil on the Delta Flyer over a commercial break is straining credibility, to put it mildly. Go back in time to World War II with your iPhone and give it to the folks working at Bletchley Park. They know what a computer is, they speak the same language, so can they make use of it? Nope. Not in the years they have to work on it before the war is over, never mind the day or so the Voyager crew had.....

Anyhow, I digress. As far as the "set and setting" of a post-TNG era story, why overthink it? TNG made the Klingons our friends, years before Star Trek VI was produced. "Future Trek" could do the same thing with the Romulans, Dominion, or whomever. As long as it's mostly consistent about and respectful towards what came before it, it would work.
Tim
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
@Jimmy

"They could still have a faction of radical Klingons who are opposed to federation ideals. "

Discovery's Klingons should have been a new race. Very little about them had anything in common with the Klingons we've had 50+ years to get to know and love. If you're going to write a story about the best known alien race in Star Trek you don't get to completely re-invent the wheel. A few retcons are okay, for story purposes (DS9 Trivia: Vorta cloning was invented after the fact so they could bring Weyoun back from the dead) but you can't change the personality of the race and make them completely unrecognizable.
Paul M.
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
@Tim: "I didn't care for the Defiant's concept or design, it felt like a bit of "me too!" in response to the White Star on Babylon 5"

The Defiant appeared a full year *before* the White Star. It can hardly be a case of "me too!"
Jason R.
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
"The Defiant appeared a full year *before* the White Star. It can hardly be a case of "me too!"

Not necessarily Paul. Remember the DS9 people already had alot of Strazynski's conceptual plans when he pitched the show originally and was rejected. Given that B5 was pretty much pre planned from start to finish it's conceivable Paramount knew about the White Star before it even appeared on air in B5. Lord knows they plagiarized alot of B5's setting when they conceived DS9.
Clark
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
People are being too hard on this show. I just recently rewatched TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise after being drawn back in by this show last fall and I think there is a lot of rose colored glasses going on here as this first season never hit the extreme lows that were present on all those shows, especially early on. I also really didn't find any of the cast to be dead-weight, an issue which really effected past series.

Hopefully they flesh out some of the fringe bridge crew and make a good choice for captain, and this show is well on the right track to holding it's own among previous iterations. I agree with Jammer that the pay off to the long arc felt contrived and too easy, but this is honestly just often the case with Star Trek. Hopefully in future seasons they save the dues ex machina for the one off episodes and think up more meaningful solutions to the major series arcs.
Tim
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
@Clark

"People are being too hard on this show. I just recently rewatched TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise after being drawn back in by this show last fall and I think there is a lot of rose colored glasses going on here as this first season never hit the extreme lows that were present on all those shows, especially early on."

My problem with Discovery isn't the "extreme lows" -- you're certainly right that it's not as bad as Season 1 TNG -- but rather the set, setting, and tone. Discovery is dark and depressing. That's a deliberate choice on the part of the writers and producers. I doubt very much they're going to change and tack in the direction of TNG/DS9 style optimism. Mutiny, slave labor, murder, rape, more murder, cannibalism, more murder, attempted genocide..... WTF???

DS9 told a war story that ended with 700,000,000 dead civilians and never managed to fill me with the sense of dread I get watching Discovery.

I can (have) pick(ed) apart the story, if I want, there's certainly a lot of holes there, but the real problem is structural. It just doesn't feel like Star Trek, which is a crying shame, because if I was going on production values (the sets and sounds) it's the best show I've ever seen, way better than the JJVerse movies, but Trekkian sets don't make up for non-Trekkian writing.
Clark
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
@Tim

From what the writers are saying, it seems like it was always the plan for this season to be the journey that shapes this crew. As they move away from the mirror universe its going to automatically get less dark. It's up to the writers to make Burnham's speech not wring so hollow in face of the genocide plot you just mentioned by following through on her words next season and forward. If done correctly, this could be viewed as true turning point for humanity to always put diplomacy first and hold actually hold true to that ideal, leading to the uber-diplomatic Picard 100 years later.

I get the criticism and hang ups but really don't get people completely rejecting this show already. Mistakes were made for sure but the bones are there, hopefully they get fleshed out well and the writers follow through on their promises. I just hope they don't blow it and pick a bad captain, there will be a void left by the last two leaving the show.
Clark
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
@Tim

As for the actual set, TNG and TOS had very bright bridge sets. That's what I always remember as well. But the TOS films it was often dark. Voyager's seemed to vary between light and dark depending on how close to Voyager was to losing shields that week. DS9 was pretty dark outside Quark's and Enterprise had a similar light scenario to Discovery. I thought they were the first to go that dark set wise as well untill going back, maybe HD and wide screen plays in to that.
Other Robert
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
"As for the actual set, TNG and TOS had very bright bridge sets."

DISCO got me to rewatch TNG 3-6 for the first time in 25 years, and rather than going into a whole tirade, I'll just point out two things:

1. Anyone notice how hyper-futuristic beige/tan ENT-D bridge is feeling these days? All the sweeping curves and warm neutrals--makes you feel like this post-scarcity society has created a space that is not only comfortable (in contrast to the bleakness of deep space) but almost a sacred space for sending its emissaries to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. In contrast, the stark gray utilitarian look of sf these days implies a paucity of imagination, human ambition, and feeling. It's funny, the beiges and tans now feel almost alien, like it should be an Iconian chamber.

2. I had no idea about the HD remastered TNG, which is available on Blu-Ray and that popular streaming service. If you haven't seen it, it looks amazing!

2.5. There is more Klingon characterization in any random 4 minutes of Sins of the Father than the entire season of DISCO. Oops strikethru
MidshipmanNorris
Sun, Mar 25, 2018, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
@Other Robert

"[...]any random 4 minutes of Sins of the Father[...]"

Ok now I want to watch it just because you said that. And I'll probably go on from there to watch "Reunion" "Redemption" "Birthright" maaaaybe "Fistful of Datas," and probably even "Parallels" and "Firstborn" despite their respective bonkers/timey-wimey plotlines, just because you reminded me how bloody awesome Michael Dorn* is at being that character.

*Throw Stark Trek VI in there for the heck of it. He really only has 4 lines or something but still.

This brings me to examine what I've just typed and say, does anyone else have themed Episode Playlists they recommend, possibly even spanning separate Trek series? Like, you could watch everything that has the Borg in it if you tried.
Rahl
Sun, Mar 25, 2018, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
@MidshipmanNorris

What about the Organian prediction unfolding? starting with Errand of Mercy then STVI undiscovered country, TNG Redemption, VOY Prophecy, DS9 Once More Unto the Breach
Tim
Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
@ Clark

"From what the writers are saying, it seems like it was always the plan for this season to be the journey that shapes this crew. As they move away from the mirror universe its going to automatically get less dark."

Are you sure about that? Because the headline I just saw today was "‘STAR TREK: DISCOVERY’ SEASON 2 WILL INCLUDE SECTION 31, THE FEDERATION’S EVIL CIA DEEP STATE" from: http://www.newsweek.com/star-trek-discovery-season-2-section-31-black-badge-federation-deep-state-cia-860825

Now, it's entirely possible that they learned their lesson, and this scene was deleted for a reason, but ask yourself if you really believe that this team of writers and producers intends to go in a classic "Trek" direction. I'm skeptical.

@ Other Robert

"Anyone notice how hyper-futuristic beige/tan ENT-D bridge is feeling these days? All the sweeping curves and warm neutrals--makes you feel like this post-scarcity society has created a space that is not only comfortable (in contrast to the bleakness of deep space) but almost a sacred space for sending its emissaries to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. In contrast, the stark gray utilitarian look of sf these days implies a paucity of imagination, human ambition, and feeling. It's funny, the beiges and tans now feel almost alien, like it should be an Iconian chamber."

This. Ten million times this.

"I had no idea about the HD remastered TNG, which is available on Blu-Ray and that popular streaming service. If you haven't seen it, it looks amazing!"

You can see all sorts of things (good and bad!) you could never see in the original run. I'm always struck by the remastered planets and the attention to detail that went into them. Take a look at Vulcan side-by-side from the original run and the remaster:

http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/planet_mutations/vulcan-sarek.jpg
http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/planet_mutations/vulcan-sarek-r.jpg

That site has a whole list of these side-by-side shots: http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/observations/tng-r-changes.htm
Dom
Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
@Other Robert, that's the difference between sci-fi with vision and sci-fi that's just a pale imitation of other things. TNG still feels and looks fresh in no small part because it doesn't look or sound like other sci-fi on TV. Its optimism is sorely lacking in the TV landscape. Seriously, name the last major sci-fi TV or movie that was remotely optimistic? Or the last sci-fi franchise that depicted an ambitious future for humanity? I can think of Interstellar (arguably), but generally sci-fi nowadays is grimdark, dystopian, and afraid to dream of a greater tomorrow.
Trent
Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
Tim said: "Are you sure about that? Because the headline I just saw today was "‘STAR TREK: DISCOVERY’ SEASON 2 WILL INCLUDE SECTION 31, THE FEDERATION’S EVIL CIA DEEP STATE" from: http://www.newsweek.com/star-trek-discovery-season-2-section-31-black-badge-federation-deep-state-cia-860825"

*bashes head on wall repeatedly*
Other Robert
Tue, Mar 27, 2018, 1:11am (UTC -5)
@MidshipmanNorris

Kern is amazingly entertaining in that ep too.

@Tim

"'STAR TREK: DISCOVERY’ SEASON 2 WILL INCLUDE SECTION 31, THE FEDERATION’S EVIL CIA DEEP STATE" from: http://www.newsweek.com/star-trek-discovery-season-2-section-31-black-badge-federation-deep-state-cia-860825"

Loooooooooool, "Actually we had 327 plots to put in season 1 but we could only fit 224 b/c the Internets ran out of space" #temporalwardeletedscenes #tillyisanaugmentforreals #qandneelixpuddingwrestleinseason2


Thanks for the TNG remaster links, amazing to see how much work went in.


@Dom

Yeah the dystopian media corporations selling us constant dystopian futures is at the very least fairly ironic at this point. I listen/support Isaac Arthur's (nonfiction) futurist Youtube channel as it's such a breath of fresh air. Also the Martian (film) was pretty inspiring.

In the indie video game realm, a couple years ago Hyper Light Drifter blew through its Kickstarter goals just by offering a couple screenshots of an intensely neon-colored, verdant postapocalyptic setting. It felt strange and different, and people instantly wanted it. Lately indie games go to a lot of places aesthetically and conceptually that film/TV seem completely unable or unwilling to follow.
Tim
Tue, Mar 27, 2018, 7:00am (UTC -5)
@Dom

“Its optimism is sorely lacking in the TV landscape. Seriously, name the last major sci-fi TV or movie that was remotely optimistic”

The Orville.

21% rating from the professionals on Rotten Tomatoes, 93% audience store. The pros don’t get it. Even Jammer doesn’t fully get it. He gives it a fair shake, fairer than any other reviewer, but says it’s going to live in Star Trek’s shadow so long as it keeps remaking/borrowing from Star Trek episodes.

To me, that’s a bit harsh, I didn’t view “Mad Idolatry" in the shadow of “Who Watches the Watchers,” but to the extent that The Orville does live in TNG’s shadow, well, that’s a feature, not a bug. :)

A buddy of mine and his wife travel the Star Trek convention circuit and have met the entire TNG cast. They were all aware of The Orville (most — especially Stewart — are friends with McFarlane) and to quote my friend, “Are more excited about it than Discovery, of which they sounded rather ambivalent.”

My sentiments exactly.
Dom
Tue, Mar 27, 2018, 9:05am (UTC -5)
@Tim, I haven't seen The Orville, in no small part because I cut cable years ago, but point taken. The hate for the show always did seem a bit odd. It never seemed like it was hiding its TNG influence. I find a lot of the current hate for "nostalgia" a bit frustrating. Critics don't seem to understand that part of the reason for the 80s nostalgia is because 80s TV and film had a sense of fun and optimism sorely lacking from so much of pop culture today.
Tim
Tue, Mar 27, 2018, 9:43am (UTC -5)
@Dom

FWIW, The Orville is available OTA. Unlike CBS, Fox opted not to lock it behind a paywall. :D (cheap burn)

I think the whole run is available for free on the Fox app too, though they’re gonna make you sit through commercials for that.

If you watch it, it takes a few episodes to find its footing. My favorites:

“About a Girl”
“Krill”
“Majority Rule”
“Into the Fold”
“Mad Idolatry”

It’s not serialized, so watch the pilot, then feel free to watch however you want. :)
Trent
Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 6:22am (UTC -5)
Is Discovery a rejected Voyager script?

From the Star Trek: Voyager Production Diaries:

"During the show's sixth season, Bryan Fuller, a fan of alternate timelines and mirror universes, came up with an episode concept he nicknamed "Who's Killing the Great Voyagers of the Delta Quadrant?", the title being a pun on the film Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?.

Fuller described the story as: "(...) we'd follow the crews of several alternate Voyagers. There was a Klingon crew with a "Mistress Jan'toch" – Captain Janeway in Klingon make-up – that was native to a universe where the Klingon Empire conquered the Federation two hundred years ago, a holographic crew that was essentially The Doctor to the infinite power, and several others. In each of these instances, some unseen force would destroy the alternate Voyager and its crew. Ultimately, the real Captain Janeway and her posse would discover that another alternate Voyager with a twisted Chakotay in command was responsible. He was from a universe where the Maquis overthrew the Starfleet crew. He had a personal vendetta against Janeway and Voyager, and wouldn't stop until he had snuffed each and every one of them out of existence. It was a fun, broad concept and for a brief time there seemed like a possibility that we might do it, but ultimately it never came to pass." "
Jason R.
Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 8:40am (UTC -5)
Trent I think that was the plot of a 90s Jet Li movie which ends with evil Jet Li in a massive futuristic prison being attacked from all sides by prisoners and the memorable phrase "no you're my bitches!"
Tommy
Mon, Apr 2, 2018, 4:17am (UTC -5)
This was a pretty piss-poor finale to a mixed-bag of a first season.

The setup makes no sense. Why didn't they just use their foo foo magic jump drive to plant a bomb in the Klingon home world a long time ago? They couldn't pay some Orion pirates for the intel on where the Klingon planets are?

Ugh.

1 stars from me. I'll watch season 2 only if it explores the Romulans.

JOHN NORRIS
Sat, Apr 14, 2018, 6:26am (UTC -5)
Has trek said all it can say?
Dom
Sat, Apr 14, 2018, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
@John Norris, I firmly believe Trek has much to say, especially given the current political turmoil in the US. There really is a lack of shows on TV now depicting an optimistic future and reminding audiences about the virtues of science and reason. But the franchise needs writers who care about saying it and put some thought into what they want to say. Then again, maybe Trek isn't the franchise that's going to be the vehicle for that message in the 21st century.
Tim
Sun, Apr 15, 2018, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom

"There really is a lack of shows on TV now depicting an optimistic future and reminding audiences about the virtues of science and reason."

Issac, The Orville, Majority Rule: "I believe you are confusing opinion with knowledge."

That one line was biting social commentary on par with the best of TNG and DS9. It might even be better than them, TNG tended to be a bit heavy handed when it come to tackling modern day social/political issues, and I haven't (yet) gotten that vibe from The Orville.

I think that one line from Issac is where I fell in love with The Orville.
Chrome
Mon, Apr 16, 2018, 8:52am (UTC -5)
"Issac, The Orville, Majority Rule: "I believe you are confusing opinion with knowledge."

That one line was biting social commentary on par with the best of TNG and DS9."

Biting commentary on what exactly? Besides millennials who are too young to know better are there really people who take everything on social media as fact? And even the deeper concept, "popular opinion can be wrong" isn't really groundbreaking. It's the same idea that every comic book villain uses to rig an election.
Mertov
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 12:16am (UTC -5)
I doubt people who take everything on social media as fact are in the majority, even among among millennial. Nothing groundbreaking there..

---
"Issac, The Orville, Majority Rule: "I believe you are confusing opinion with knowledge."
"That one line was biting social commentary on par with the best of TNG and DS9."
---

The best DS9 and TNG liners/speeches are couple of stars above the observation by Issac - again, nothing groundbreaking about it, sorry.. All Star Trek series have better ones than that.
SlackerInc
Sun, Apr 22, 2018, 3:34am (UTC -5)
I cosign the “Orville” recommendation.

As I said in my comment on the previous episode, I thought this finale was better than most of the season. I would consider the final two episodes of the season among only four or five episodes total that merited three stars (I don’t think there were any that merited more than that).

I did kind of think that blowing up the Klingon homeworld might have been the right play, but I guess maybe I’m just evil?

One thing I find amazing about the status quo as we find it at the end of the season is that there are (unless I’m totally blanking out on someone) no characters who are straight white males. Zero. By “characters” I mean people who occasionally say a line of dialogue, not people who walk by in the background. This radical state of affairs was effectively obscured for most of the season by the fact that the captain of the ship was a straight white male. But then he was revealed to be an evil Terran and stand-in for Trump, who died and was therefore absent for the final two episodes. All this on CBS, the most “red state” of networks! Stunning.
wolfstar
Sun, Apr 22, 2018, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
DS9 only had one straight white male in its main cast - O'Brien. The only two straight white American males on the show are Admiral Ross and Eddington. Expanding the net to non-humans, there are also Bareil, Shakaar and Vic.

Of course, Odo kind of functioned as a straight white male too, especially in his season 1 characterization as a hard-boiled detective type, and later in his feelings towards Kira and his vulnerability towards the female Founder. Though "Chimera" obviously complicates this. And Bashir passes for white.

The issue with Discovery's characters in contrast to DS9's equally diverse cast is that it's as if the Discovery writers thought representation was the only thing they had to do. The characters have barely been thought about or developed beyond the box they tick and the plot-driving function they fulfil. DS9's the most diverse Trek series but it never once felt tokenistic because all of the characters and performances were so rich - they weren't there to fulfill quotas, they were complex, engaging, relatable people who had great storylines and wonderful interactions with each other.

This is why queer-themed episodes like The Outcast, Chimera, Rejoined, Stigma and even the Sulu moment in STB resonate with me as a gay guy far more than the tokenistic and totally disposable romance between two of Discovery's desperately underdeveloped characters. Stamets is only there to be gay and to be a plot device, Wilson was only there to be his generically nice boyfriend for a few scenes until being killed off. Absolutely nothing about their storylines was dramatically compelling.
Chrome
Sun, Apr 22, 2018, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
“All this on CBS, the most “red state” of networks! Stunning.”

I’m sorry, have you never seen a Fox news show? And CBS has one of the most liberal comedians, Stephen Colbert, as it’s late night host. Someone didn’t do their homework here.
Yanks
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 8:24am (UTC -5)
wofstar,

While I agree with the jist of your post, I'll differ with this one.

"Stamets is only there to be gay and to be a plot device, ...."

I too thought that of him early on (whiny gay guy was my term), but I thought he had developed into a pretty good character by the end of season one.

Del_Duio
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 10:38am (UTC -5)
@Yanks-

I wholeheartedly agree. Though they probably brought him in just to "tick a box" somewhere, he's one of the very few characters this side of Saru that I actually like on DSC. Same goes with Culber.

Hell, at this rate they should just christen the U.S.S. Blue Oyster and give us a good series!
Del_Duio
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 10:40am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar:

"DS9's the most diverse Trek series but it never once felt tokenistic because all of the characters and performances were so rich - they weren't there to fulfill quotas, they were complex, engaging, relatable people who had great storylines and wonderful interactions with each other."

Yeah, man! Well said!
Chrome
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 10:46am (UTC -5)
How is DS9 any more diverse than say Voyager?
Peter G.
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 11:33am (UTC -5)
I agree with wolfstar.

Chrome:

"How is DS9 any more diverse than say Voyager?"

If we're going to create a diversity checklist (which I sort of loath the idea of doing) then this assessment shouldn't come as any surprise. Here's the list for you:

*DS9*

Sisko - black human man
Bashir - Middle-Eastern human man
O'Brien -White human man albeit Irish
Dax - Trill (played by white female)
Kira - Bajoran (played by white female)
Worf - Klingon (played by black man)
Quark - Ferengi (played by white man)
Odo - Changeling (played by white man)
Jake - Black human male

So all-in-all, only one white human male, as wolfstar pointed out, who is Irish, and all other white American actors in the main cast played non-humans.

*VOY*

Janeway - White female human
Chakotay - White male human (albeit from different culture)
Tuvok - Vulcan (played by black man)
Torres - Klingon/human (played by black woman)
Kim - Asian human male
Paris - White human male
Doc - White 'human' male
Kes - Ocampan (played by white female)
Seven - White human female (from alternate 'culture')

So on the male/female scale I think VOY wins 4-2 on having more females in the main cast, although if you count Seven/Kes as a total of one then it's a 4-3 victory. The Captain being one of those is also noteworthy.

On the white/non-white tally for actors, specifically, DS9 wins by one, unless you don't count Jake, in which case it's a tie. And as for Janeway, the fact of the Commander being one of them on DS9 probably tilts it to DS9.

For human/non-human characters DS9 wins 5-4, and that's giving Kes a full point and counting Doc as non-human, even though visually and for all intents and purposes he's a white human male. So arguably it could have been 5-2.5, but let's say 5-4 anyhow.

It's sort of close so far, with DS9 slightly winning. And now the final category: white American actors (of either sex). DS9: 4, Voyager: 6. And in DS9 two of them, Odo and Quark, and so unrecognizably 'white' as characters that it's really a write-off. And this is the category that's the most telling; in fact, we've discussed it in other threads before. Voyager is overpopulated with white American actors compared to DS9.

Personally I don't care that much either way to argue about which series is 'more diverse' since overall Trek has always been good about having a mix of peoples on the shows, but if we're going to get finicky about who's got the most check-boxes I feel like DS9 was ahead of its successors. And I also agree with wolfstar that it did it in such a way as to not be ostentatious about it.


Chrome
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

Beltran's hispanic (Mexican), so I'm pretty sure the cast's actual racial diversity is about even. And gender diversity definitely goes to Voyager.

DS9 did have some tokenist aspects like Ben and Jake's token matching black girlfriends which have led to some long discussions in comments here, too.

I don't know, I'm not going to say some casting committee didn't come together and agree who will be represented on Trek for this show (surely Trek's big enough there was a committee who worked this out for all the shows). Still, I can't really get behind the idea of tokenism for this show unless people can point to specific instances where the only standout aspect of a character was his/her diversity. With one season, they've certainly tried to give all the characters pretty well-rounded aspects. I mean, all things considered, is this really DSC's weak link?
Dom
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
In addition to racial/ethnic diversity, DS9 also had significantly more cultural and religious diversity. Kira, Odo, Worf, Quark, and Bashir all had significantly different worldview and religious beliefs. Their cultures informed who they were, how the behaved, and why they did what they did. Many of the episodes that focused on them explored their belief systems and how the clashed with the Federation's.

By contrast, most of the cast on Voyager had pretty standard human/Federation values. The show did occasionally touch upon Torres' Klingon heritage (like Barge of the Dead), but not that often. I don't recall Tuvok's Vulcan heritage being a major point in the show. Even Neelix and Kes, from the Delta Quadrant, adjusted to the ship without any major culture shock. Somebody watching a random episode of Voyager could be forgiven for believing that the crew all came from the same place and shared the same values.
Chrome
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Yes, there's no debating alien diversity on DS9 is the highest. By the very location of the show (a distant Bajoran outpost bordering Cardassia near a wormhole to the GQ), it's almost guaranteed that lots of different and interesting characters would stop by.

But this show takes place pre-TOS on a standard starship, so you wouldn't expect more *alien* diversity than the TOS era, let alone things like Klingon officers (though DSC did have one in a sense) or Ferengi ensigns of the DS9 era.
Peter G.
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"But this show takes place pre-TOS on a standard starship, so you wouldn't expect more *alien* diversity than the TOS era, let alone things like Klingon officers (though DSC did have one in a sense) or Ferengi ensigns of the DS9 era."

TOS had a lack of alien diversity only for budgetary reasons. TAS had plenty of alien beings serving on the Enterprise and on the bridge, as they were able to take that opportunity to portray what they would have liked to do with unlimited budget. In our day and age there isn't really a reason to skimp on non-humans in a show like Discovery, for instance. Even Babylon 5, a show contemporary with DS9, also had lots of alien species on board.
Chrome
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I don’t think it’s a pure budgetary issue; TNG had a bit of money to play with and they only made two cast regulars (Worf and Troi) alien, which is the same as DSC (Saru and Tyler). If I had to guess based on how the show is written so far, they’re trying to keep DSC more accessible to new fans by keeping the human ratio high.

Also, DS9 and VOY had the benefit of being able to ride the coattails of Star Trek lore from TNG. Concepts like Ferengi ensigns, Maquis rebels, and Bajoran refugees were already teased to the TNG audience before they became the norm on later shows.
Dom
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
I don't think anybody really cares which Trek show had more diversity per se. Rather, the initial point was about how diversity is manifested in the show. @Wolfstar's initial point still stands in that DS9's diversity never felt tokenistic or ancillary; each crew member felt like an integral part of the show. The diversity wasn't just there to please certain fans either and check off boxes. The writers made sure to explore that diversity and what it meant for the characters. For example, the writers could easily have made Sisko a "color-blind" black man, somebody who avoided any mention of his race or ethnicity (as were most black characters at the time). Instead, the show deliberately chose to explore Sisko's African American heritage, what it meant to him, and why it even made him uncomfortable with certain aspects of American history (like the 1950s casino holodeck program).

That's what I think the original post was about. Discovery has diversity, but it feels skin deep at this point. It'd be great if the show eventually managed to really explore what those differences meant to people. Diversity could be a theme of the show instead of just a box to check off.
Chrome
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

You’re still not going into specifics for DSC. Who is a token on this show?

Re: Sisko

To be fair, Sisko was played fairly colorblind for the first few seasons at least. The African heritage stuff was brought up years into the show. Also, the scene you’re referencing in “Badda Bing, Badda Bang” (Season 7) was a pretty rushed afterthought in a light-hearted episode mainly about a casino heist. At least reference a good episode of DS9 like “Far Beyond the Stars” if you’re trying to point to historic injustice portrayed well in Trek.
Dom
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, I'm sorry my analysis doesn't meet your high standards, lol

I didn't say the DSC characters were just tokens (other posters might have), but rather that their diversity feels superficial at this point. As I said above, it's for the most part diversity in gender, race, and sexual orientation rather than diversity in worldview and cultures. There's still time for the show to improve, but even in Season 1 DS9 was airing episodes in which Kira's beliefs clearly went against Federation values.

Yes, I mentioned one example of Sisko invoking his African American heritage. There are others on the show, from the African artwork he keeps in his office to FBtS. However, as much as I like FBtS, it is pretty uncontroversial and frankly a bit pedantic as far as stories exploring racism. Even in the 90s, I suspect most people watching Trek would have condemned systemic racism, sympathized with Benny, and been shocked by the extent of police brutality. It's a great hour of television, but it doesn't tell me anything I didn't know about racism or diversity even when I first saw it in the 1990s. It's a very comfortable critique of racism in our "distant" past. (then again, with the rise of Trump, maybe a significant number of Americans think that's how things should be)

I referenced “Badda Bing, Badda Bang" for a reason. Even though it's not a focus of the episode, Sisko's reaction to the racial politics of late 50s/early 60s Vegas is more challenging for modern audiences. The critique isn't just "cops beating up innocent black people is bad" (a la FBtS). Rather, it pushes people to question if we can ever separate our understanding of the past - and pop culture made in the past - without thinking about race. The casino holodeck program itself didn't appear to have any overt racial/racist elements. To many (white) viewers probably seemed like a fairly standard and innocent - if glorified - depiction of Vegas. Sisko's reminder of the racial dynamics is much more uncomfortable because many viewers had watched and enjoyed movies from that era like Oceans 11 without thinking about how they (sometimes deliberately) ignore race. Sisko's beliefs and heritage made him see the situation in a completely different light. I'm sure the episode could have done more with that idea, but I actually think it's all the more effective as a short intrusion into an otherwise lighthearted episode.
Chrome
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

There's separate issues being discussed here and it doesn't sound like everyone is on the same page. Wolfstar started his comment by talking about whites and homosexuals, so it sounded to me like the conversation was about diversity of the actors, rather than the alien diversity of the characters within the show.

Kira definitely had some interesting beliefs that diverged from a typical Federation POV, but by the same token, there's was a stark contrast between Michael's Vulcan values and Federation values, which initiated a huge conflict in the pilot.

--------

I've talked about "Badda Bing, Badda Bang" ad nauseum over in that comment section, and I'm glad it struct a chord with you. Jammer's review was less favorable and I think there's a sizable portion in that section (myself included) who think Sisko was acting out of character. If Trek is supposed to be post-racial tension on Earth, as even DS9 had told us in "Past Tense", it seems weird that Sisko would have a chip on his shoulder about something that happened 400 years prior on Earth. As a commenter from that section put it, it would be like a Protestant Christian today refusing to attend a Renaissance Faire because it was set in England during a time when Queen Mary was executing non-Catholics.

Anyway, the whole scene doesn't seem very well thought out in terms of integrating a serious discussion about racism in a comedy episode, but that might be due to Brooks requesting the scene be added after the script was written.
Peter G.
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"Kira definitely had some interesting beliefs that diverged from a typical Federation POV, but by the same token, there's was a stark contrast between Michael's Vulcan values and Federation values, which initiated a huge conflict in the pilot. "

Michael has Vulcan values? That might have actually been interesting. ENT , for example, had a heavy focus on the divergence between (then) Vulcan values and those of humans. I don't particularly see Michael as being a spokeperson for any set of values other than her own. That's fine, but she hardly represents a contrast between one culture and another. She seems more to adrift and to just do whatever she feels like at the time that's expedient. Maybe that could be called "Alternate Universe values", which could also have been interesting if the AU had been used as anything other than a cartoon horror-show. So no, I can't see Michael as being a representative of Vulcans; certainly not how she's portrayed on the show. If she were she'd be making them look pretty bad!
Chrome
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

Michael may well not be a spokesperson for Vulcan ideals as such like Spock, but her being raised on Vulcan and having trouble with human concepts like love was something often brought up in the show. And it was indeed Michael initiating a Vulcan method of relations with the Klingons that brought about the war. So she's definitely not the typical human, or at least she doesn't act as the other human officers on the show do. We can expect that her conflict with human values isn't over and her Vulcan heritage will continue to be a source of friction and diversity on the show.
Dom
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 11:00am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, I saw Sisko's reaction as more akin to an African American today taking issue with mainstream America's glorification of the Founding Fathers and not wanting to go visit Monticello or a Colonial times reenactment came like Jamestown. Sure, it happened a long time ago, but for some people the romanticizing of the past is an issue. Then again, different people are different - I'm sure there are many African Americans who do visit those places and take the history for what it is, good or bad.

I do have to agree with @Peter on Michael. I think the writers WANTED to have that type of culture clash, but just failed. Like in the premiere the idea of shooting on the Klingons first was supposed to show the different approaches of Starfleet and Vulcans, but I just didn't buy it, or at least Michael's version of it. I don't believe actually firing on - as opposed to shooting across the bow of - a Klingon ship would lead to diplomatic relations as opposed to a war. I don't believe for a second your average Vulcan would assault his/her captain and launch a mutiny.
Chrome
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 11:46am (UTC -5)
@Dom

I don't think 1960s Las Vegas is anywhere as bad as that period (or even the Renaissance era example I brought up.) But even if we follow that logic, why isn't Sisko offended by baseball? There's plenty of ugly segregation history in that sport which the holosuites don't show. It seems like Sisko had already made peace with the holosuites at sometime in his life before DS9 started, so it's weird he'd suddenly start refusing to participate in them because of historic problems.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 11:54am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

Baseball may also have had some history of segregation or racism, but that's an apples to oranges comparison. Sisko wasn't complaining about his crew going into a casino, it was specifically one of that era but with the segregation whitewashed away. I don't recall an episode featuring Sisko attending a baseball game in a specific location and era where racism was rampant.
Chrome
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

Sisko did at least watch games from the early era of baseball. In the pilot, the Prophets used his memories to recreate a baseball game with uniforms from around the 1920s. The Jim Crow policies of baseball lasted until the 1940s when Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Err...maybe the Prophets used his memories of an upsetting past because he was upset? Heck if I know. But yes, I think we can also admit some extent of retcon here since presumably Brooks didn't have much clout back around the time of the pilot to speak out for his character or the setting. From what I've read over time the cast developed a good relationship with the writing team and had the leeway to argue for or against certain types of stories, but certainly that environment wouldn't have existed early on.
Jason R.
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
I was thinking to myself if there was any circumstance where a current group would have a chip on their shoulders about an ancient wrong against them, and the answer was yes. Growing up Jewish, events like the Spanish inquisition or even Exodus were always taught to us in the context of a greater cycle of persecution. Black people still look back to slavery and connect it to current wrongs. Even Christians may look to their being fed to the lions in ancient Rome as an analog for present day persecution.

The issue with Sisko's complaint isn't the fact that 50s Vegas was far removed from 24th Century earth historically; the issue is if racism is dead and gone in the 24th century, there is simply no cultural basis for Sisko's feelings. A Jew feeling bad about the Inquisition in the context of present day anti semitism is plausible. But Sisko is like a modern day Carthaginian still holding a grudge against Italy - it is essentially an anachronism. If racism is gone by Sisko's time it's gone. Sisko should no more be offended by its historical reality than anyone else in his time.

But that said my own head canon is that Sisko was changed more than he realized by Benny Russell. In essence, he shared that person's existence over centuries influencing Benny as he was influenced by him. Given that the Prophets exist outside of time, such a link would be within the realm of possible. I don't see Benny as a delusion or a fiction but a real person who, like Sisko, holds a mysterious link to the Prophets and may even have been engineered by them.
Chrome
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

"From what I've read over time the cast developed a good relationship with the writing team and had the leeway to argue for or against certain types of stories, but certainly that environment wouldn't have existed early on."

This makes me wonder what kind of a relationship Sonequa Martin-Green or even Michelle Yeoh had with the writing team of Discovery. I'm guessing they didn't have much story input (maybe Yeoh was consulted for the action choreography?). More teamwork with the cast and writers is certainly something this show could benefit from.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"This makes me wonder what kind of a relationship Sonequa Martin-Green or even Michelle Yeoh had with the writing team of Discovery. I'm guessing they didn't have much story input (maybe Yeoh was consulted for the action choreography?). More teamwork with the cast and writers is certainly something this show could benefit from."

I agree. One thing is that writers aren't infallible, especially when a show is written by committee or by various sources. The actors know their character better than anyone much of the time. I read that Nana Visitor used to be very firm with the writers that she wouldn't accept a storyline, for instance, where Kira and Dukat end up together in some kind of romance, which certain writers seemed to be leading towards. Who knows whether Behr would have accepted that kind of story anyhow, but she felt so strongly about the fact that I wonder what would have happened had they defied her on that one. Similarly, it would have been good if SMG had been in the position to argue for her character, assuming she had strong feelings on the subject. In fact, it would have been good for Frayn also.

I also got the gist from Mulgrew that she basically drew the line at a Janeway/Chakotay romance and told them that wasn't what the show was supposed to be about. When the series first aired I was puzzled at how hard they tried to avoid making anything about the S1-2 hints about the two of them, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense if Mulgrew had dug in her heels about it.
Dom
Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Given DS9's semi-serialized structure, I just never found myself caring if Sisko's reaction to racial politics lined up perfectly with what happened in a previous season. It's a small character moment and seemed plausible given his personality and background. Sisko had expressed awareness of race and historical racism before, including in Past Tense 1 & 2. It's also pretty clear the show was evolving over time and is never 100% consistent. Given the nature of the show, I don't need it to be. The moment didn't undo character work from before.

Also, baseball seems like a pretty different case. As Peter said, baseball can transcend time a bit easier, whereas the Vegas scene was very firmly rooted in one time. I take the point about the prophets showing him a game from the 20s, but I feel comfortable overlooking that - it was the pilot, the writers hadn't fully figured out the character yet, and I suspect if it had aired later the uniforms would have been changed.

All that said, I do like Jason's retcon in that Benny actually had an effect on Ben's own understand of racism. As I said above, I like Far Beyond the Stars, but it always seemed like just a very unsubtle racism allegory forced into a Trek show. I like finding fan theories that better connect it to the core DS9 experience.
Chrome
Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
"All that said, I do like Jason's retcon in that Benny actually had an effect on Ben's own understand of racism."

This I think is a neat way to tie the issue to the show in-universe. A line could've been added to the episode to make it work better. Sisko could've said "I had a vision not too long ago that made me realize we might take for granted the struggles of our ancestors". But, as it stands, it's just a small, quickly-resolved scene in an episode that's otherwise Ocean's 11 in Space.

It's interesting, though, if you look at the production history for the episode, apparently there was some fan backlash against Vic Fontaine, so another reason why they made Sisko uncooperative at first was to try and give those fans a voice in the show. In theory, winning over Sisko meant winning over less-enthusiastic fans. I'm not quite sure it worked on that level, but it would be interesting to hear if some fans started to like the Vegas club episodes more after it aired.
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom,

"All that said, I do like Jason's retcon in that Benny actually had an effect on Ben's own understand of racism."

This may be not be overtly stated canon but I think it's more or less in the subtext of the show. It's not a retcon; more like connecting the dots of what we see. Don't forget the "you are the dreamer and the dream" line in FBtS. This is a serious statement about non-linearity and how a figure in the past like Benny and one in the future like Sisko can affect each other, even cause each other to do what they do. The non-locality in time and space is sort of what the Prophets are all about. Even Q in All Good Things tries to explain to Picard to stop thinking so linearly. Literally speaking I think we're supposed to take away that Benny and Ben have a direct connection of some kind, maybe even sharing 'an existence' (to use the Prophets' obscure term). Who says the Emissary has to be one single flesh and blood person? But on the allegorical level I also see SIsko has being in a sort of communion with all oppressed peoples, black Americans just being one of them. Part of his arc in the series is to come to not just side with the Bajorans, but to become one of them in spirit; a Bajoran not of Bajor. I think FBtS brought him much closer to realizing that fighting for the downtrodden to be recognized and respected is his mission, and I think with this new awareness his comment in Bada Bing makes complete sense. It's not just a shoehorn but rather following logically from what the writers already gave us.

@ Chrome,

"Sisko could've said "I had a vision not too long ago that made me realize we might take for granted the struggles of our ancestors". But, as it stands, it's just a small, quickly-resolved scene in an episode that's otherwise Ocean's 11 in Space."

I don't think a person needs to state the 1-2-3 connect the dots reasoning behind a statement. Isn't it enough to state a belief without also having to exposit to precise reason that belief came to be?

"It's interesting, though, if you look at the production history for the episode, apparently there was some fan backlash against Vic Fontaine, so another reason why they made Sisko uncooperative at first was to try and give those fans a voice in the show."

That's interesting, although I don't get the vibe that Sisko's reluctance was any slight against Vic. Especially in light of Sisko eventually singing a jazz number at Vic's later on we see that he does have affinity with the genre and setting, but just had a problem with the history being whitewashed. However you need look no further than here to find one fan who did object to Vic's presence during the original airing. I hated it, didn't know why he was there, and wanted him to go away. It took me maybe 20 years to come to appreciate him and realize how his personality and liveliness help in a war setting, and I also actually enjoy him now. "Crazy!" But I found it really, really annoying back in the day.
Chrome
Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

In real life, certainly not, but in terms of keeping a sort of logical continuity for those of us playing at home, it would make sense to have the line. I certainly didn't make the connection between the episodes, and unless the show says otherwise, it's still fanon at this point.

"I don't get the vibe that Sisko's reluctance was any slight against Vic"

Well, the production notes don't say whether it was only Vic who the fans didn't like, or the whole Vegas scene he brought with him. But, Vic was the face of all the Vegas-themed shows. If you don't like Vic, it's hard to see how you'll like the night club shows which give him about 50% of the screen time. It's like trying to enjoy the Ferengi episodes but not liking Quark (or Rom).
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, May 25, 2018, 10:26am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
"Biting commentary on what exactly? Besides millennials who are too young to know better are there really people who take everything on social media as fact? And even the deeper concept, "popular opinion can be wrong" isn't really groundbreaking. It's the same idea that every comic book villain uses to rig an election."

Apparently the people here didn't learn this lesson well enough.

Popular opinion is that decade-long Trekkies who value continuity, aren't allowed to say "Discovery butchers everything I value in Star Trek" unless he subjects himself to 13 episodes of pure torture.

Luckily for people like me, this isn't Sargus IV, so those who realize how idiotic this "popular opinion" is, do not risk being lobotimized or anything like that. But still, the backlash from holding true to my views was quite harsh, and the sole reason that happened is that people confused their popular opinion with actual fact.

I must emphasize, that I respect those who have a different view of what Star Trek is, and have no problem with people who like Discovery. To each, his own.

But I have zero respect for those clowns who mercilessly mocked me for stating my own views just because I didn't meet their arbitrary qulifications criteria. You should be ashamed of your mob mentality (and Jammer, which I otherwise respect a great deal, should feel like a fool for allowing himself to get dragged down to this level).

Thanks God for the Orville, which - in a world with dystopian Trek and dystopian everything - actually gives us something hopeful to shoot for. Even if the messages of that show are not always "groundbreaking", it is obvious that humanity is still in desperate need of hearing them.

(reminds me of TOS's "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". Obvious message with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but then - a sledgehammer was needed)



Chrome
Fri, May 25, 2018, 11:20am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Literally nothing you said is in reference to the text you quoted. What was so biting about “Minority Rule”? Does the viewer have to be young enough to take social media as fact in order to learn the lesson? I’m genuinely curious what deep and profound life lessons people are taking from the episode.

And your point about Discovery is irrelevant. I don’t like the show because it’s popular. Heck, popular opinion on this board seems to dislike the show so much I often feel like I’m in the minority enjoying it.
Chrome
Fri, May 25, 2018, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Oh and for the record, please don’t take discussion here as a personal attack. Things may get heated at times, but at the end of the day we’re just discussing interpretations of fiction we enjoy. Naturally you’re free to come and go as you please.

And this wasn’t intentional but to be clear it’s “Majority Rule”.
Welcher
Fri, May 25, 2018, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
OTDP:

"But still, the backlash from holding true to my views was quite harsh,"

So harsh I believe you retired from posting here, in a glorified farewell speech. Yet here you are.
Welcher
Fri, May 25, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Good ol' Yanks called you out on it back in November in fact. Or should I say Nostradamus-Yanks?

Yanks said:
"And you're not leaving, you will post again.... just like everyone else on the internet that announces their dramatic departure..."

Chrome
Sat, May 26, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
@Welcher

Yes, when the discussions start veering into people’s posting habits I admit my eyes start to glaze over and lose attention. Hate Discovery all you want, please, but let’s keep in mind we aren’t here to discuss posting habits. There’s absolutely zero intellectual content in that type of discussion.

I hope OTDP can just drop the subject and by the same token others just leave him be. There’s a lot more interesting critical Discovery discussions coming from Peter G., Dom, and Hank who, as much as I disagree with, still sincerely enjoy reading.
Amy J.
Wed, May 30, 2018, 12:38am (UTC -5)
^.^

Over the years, I think I have seen each Star Trek captain take actions that fly right in the face of the whole "We are Starfleet" idelaism and approach. And quite frankly, GOOD FOR THEM, because the idealistic approach without some pragmatic backup almost never works, and serves to get good people killed.

I believe that Discovery actually flows nicely into STOS. Of course, when STOS was being written, no one thought to come up with an explanation as to why the Klingons and the Federation were at odds with each other ... they were portrayed as the bad guys, and the US was in the midst of the Cold War, so the portrayal worked. In Discovery, we get important backstory, even if it is a bit far-fteched (the entire Starfleet and Federation would be reduced to a handful of planets and installations, and the Klingons would be stopped from razing Earth, even given what could happen to Quo'nos ...)

So, about 20 years later, Starfleet has completed the original 12 Constitution class starships, but does not have a whole lot of "arm strength" if you will, to impose its will too much, hence the idea that the USS Enterprise is sent everywhere, to resolve all of these issues. Think about it ... during STOS, Federation territory is quite dangerous, and in a number of episodes, the Federation is interested in securing mining rights and such, things that might happen if you are trying to rebuild after a massive war.

It was good to see Starfleet not being so damn straight-laced. I am sorry, I sympathize with the Starfleet optimism, but it left them completely unprepared for when the bad guys stopped hiding behind DMZs and neutral zones, and started taking pot shots at Earth every couple years (with the release of each new movie, it seemed ...) Hell folks, it took the massacres of the Dominion War to get Starfleet to start constructing real warships, rather than glorified Galaxy class hotels.

As to Season 1 itself, most of it was serviceable, with the exception of Saru going insane on Pahvo, that episode was completely stupid. I even thought they did a decent job adding to the backstory of the Terran Empire, which always seemed to get short shrift in the rest of Trek. I love it when backstory is added in, and you can see how things might have progressed from one snippet we see to the next one.

I think that overall quality was decent, even if the JJ Trek atmosphere threw me a bit. As I said elsewhere, if Gene could have done STOS with 2018 technology, it might have looked a lot closer to what we got in Discovery, so I let that slide. (Although Enterprise did a much better job of trying to LOOK like an earlier generation of Trek.)

Following the experience of STNG, I have always given a Trek series TWO years to really evaluate it. STNG's first season was really shaky, and the second season was shanked by a writer's strike (which pushed the emergence of the Borg to the Third Season), but they were interesting enough that I caught onto it, and liked it. Perhaps this will hold true for Discovery as well. The stills and such in the official trailer look interesting.

Live Long and Prosper, All!

Amy J.
Chrome
Wed, May 30, 2018, 3:00am (UTC -5)
@Amy J.

Interesting comment! Just one thing,

“Hell folks, it took the massacres of the Dominion War to get Starfleet to start constructing real warships”

The Defiant class ship was actually built to counter the Borg and even after the Dominion War started we only see 3 of them, one of which was a replacement for the prototype that got destroyed. Otherwise, Starfleet just used its existing fleet in the battles shown on DS9. Also, Galaxy Class ships are supposed to match the strength of Romulan Warbirds, so they’re definitely more than glorified hotels.
Astronut7
Wed, May 30, 2018, 5:13am (UTC -5)
Let me be blunt: Discovery is the end result of the long and painful road from Gene Roddenberry's innovative ideas--which, let me be very clear on this, were completely unpolished, and looked like crap the first time around, and some of them were actually crap, but that's what happens with innovation: it mostly consists of failures, then learning from them. The second, and third time around, they looked a heck of a lot better, because they had actually been polished, and people were more comfortable with the strange new ideas. Now though, the polish is all that's left--the innovation, and the ideas just aren't there. All we're left with is the polishing/money machine spinning its wheels.

@Jammer, you think Discovery can be salvaged. Now, with all honours due to you for running this site for many years, I have no respect for that opinion. Discovery began with a lie: that it would take place ten years before the original series of Star Trek, and would honour that series, and honour what Star Trek stood for. It claimed that the main character was the best first officer in the fleet. It claimed that the starship Discovery was a cutting edge prototype, with a handpicked crew personally selected from the best of the best. It claimed that it respected Star Trek. It claimed that it would explore the Klingon, and Vulcan, and Starfleet culture during a time of war, it claimed to be a show about DISCOVERY (the action of)...it claimed many things and it dropped the ball on all of them, because what happened was they wanted to create a high-octane visually spectacular dramatic series that was about shooting things, and the Star Trek name was conveniently to hand. A polishing machine can't innovate.

The Orville, on the other hand, began with the truth: that it was a fan-made Star Trek style of series, about a motley crew that were...well, pretty incompetent. It was going to use episodes to discuss topical situations, and it was going to do so with average people that weren't that smart. The Orville is a show that can actually go somewhere, because it started with a small, humble premise: that it was probably going to be awful, but at least somewhat amusing. It delivered. Discovery didn't, and in the end they flung the Enterprise at us, going "Ooh! Look! Shiny thing! Shiny thing you used to have! You like shiny thing! Tune in next time!"

I don't particularly like the Orville, because it is an awkward show, and I'm not comfortable with awkward shows, because I'm an awkward person. I like shows like Discovery, because Discovery isn't an awkward show. It's a very confident show, and confidence is very attractive--but it's a very confident show that will stupidly walk off the edge of a cliff, and claim that the ground rushing up to meet it isn't a problem. It's at this point that I stop liking shows like Discovery, and have to switch back to shows like the Orville, and then after watching this different type of stupidity for a while with nothing else available, switch off the TV/monitor in disgust.

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@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Ooh. That's an interesting talking point. First, let me apologize for being too lazy to find your previous comments, so I don't know exactly what you went through on this site. But before that:

@Chrome, @Welcher
I'm not entirely sure what's going on here, but I am very concerned because I know of people who have committed suicide over online bullying. If there was a "big dramatic departure" and a subsequent return months later, then OTDP very clearly has strong feelings about the subject of Star Trek--strong enough that attempting to bury the issue with a "Don't take it personally" is nothing more than trite. Whatever happened, even with the limited information I have, it very clearly got personal enough that a person was forced out of the discussion, and the community on this website, albeit temporarily. If someone states that they are "permanently leaving" a community due to a bad experience, then that's an indication that they may be considering suicide--because the future is always in motion, until you die.

Be more careful in the future, and I would suggest thinking about ways in which the current issue with OTDP can be resolved to mutual benefit. Again, I apologize for butting in, but if the discussion online gets "heated," there can be some serious physical, financial, and legal consequences, and I would rather that it didn't get to that point again, for anyone else.

Oh, and Welcher, Nostradamus-Yanks was wrong. When websites go defunct, accounts are erased, or the user dies after they've announced their "dramatic departure," then they don't come back. Furthermore, if someone announces their departure due to bad circumstances, then comes back later to check if circumstances have improved and they haven't, then THAT is when they usually don't come back. This also applies to moving between towns, businesses, or countries.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Speaking of serious consequences in social media, yes, "Majority Rule" is emblematic of lessons that human beings fail to remember, or never bother learning in the first place. It's not particularly groundbreaking in the sense that it HAS been done before, many times.

However, it is like you said--as subtle as a sledgehammer; a sledgehammer used for breaking ground. Some people watched it, and they may have taken the lesson to heart because it was presented in such a clear, and simplistic way, in a show about average people, so it more clearly related to them: democracy does NOT WORK when people don't think about the consequences. The majority isn't always right; in fact it's usually wrong just as often, if not more so, than any individual minority. This is why groundbreaking science is often the result of the work of a small group of individuals, or an individual, and not the scientific community as a whole.

The universe sets the rules. If we disobey them, we die. If we find out what the universal laws are, we might get to live. That's as simple as it gets. Anything else is mere self-destructive fantasy. It's a pity that most human beings seem so intent on setting customs, and rules, and organizations, and communities, that are ignorant, contrary, and dismissive of the laws set by the universe.

Screw up, and people die. If they don't, or we don't, then we got lucky...this time. That luck won't hold out forever, and death...is neither a heavenly utopia, nor the painless nothingness that people make it out to be. As far as I can see, death means disintegration; being alone, unable to rest, unable to recover, unable to learn anything or change anything or remember anything. Merely being...in pieces, not in peace.

Perhaps resurrection is a thing; but if it is, it probably relies on pure chance--and if we do get a second chance...it's likely only to be beneficial to those who don't squander the chances they get. Most people squander their chances, and don't even realize it. I know I do. I always get things wrong, and I've encountered far too many people who just don't care when they do.

Sorry this got dark, and depressing. I can only hope that something in this message will actually help. People fail to understand the things that are important, and forget, because we are too busy constructing or maintaining our fantasies. This has been the case since humanity began, and it is only because a few people are actually better than this that we have survived this long.

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@Jammer
One of the things I'm aware of, through navigating this site, is that you review each episode based on its dramatic qualifications--how it makes you feel. You talk about the characters. You talk about the visuals. You talk about the twists and turns of the plot. You're a damn fine reviewer. One of the best.

Except when the story stops being a dramatic story. This is important, because you're asking what the point of this season of Discovery is, and still think the show can be salvaged, when it practically cannot. In order to answer that question, and to show you why it probably can't be fixed, it might be a good idea to reflect on how Star Trek began. You certainly know more about this than I do, but you may not have considered it in this light, so bear with me.

Oddly enough, you don't seem to have reviewed "The Cage"--am I just not seeing it, or is it not on this website?

Anyway, "The Cage" is the original, rejected pilot for Star Trek. It is what the creator of the show envisioned. Essentially, I think Gene Roddenberry took the basic idea of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"--a TV series about an advanced scientific research submarine called the SeaView which was funded by the military, journeying through oceans full of James Bond-esque villains, and strange, alien forms of life--and set it in space.

The pilot episode featured a world-weary Captain Pike, in charge of the scientific/military submarine--in Space! It featured aliens who--appropriately enough to this discussion, constructed a fantasy, that Pike ultimately rejected, and destroyed. It featured science, front and center, although it got many details very wrong, wasn't particularly dramatic, and was quite repetitive.

You can see why the executives rejected it. It wasn't dramatic. It had a female first officer (later Nurse Chapel, and Roddenberry's wife). It had an alien that looked like the Devil (a smiling Spock). The captain was too cynical. It didn't put the American Dream in a very good light. These things had to be changed.

Star Trek was supposed to be a show about science. Now, there's a couple of different types of science, and practically everyone gets confused about which one a person is talking about. In a nutshell, there's the "book smart," "street smart," and "wise fool" types of science. Bookish science is reliant on knowledge that has been written down. Street science is reliant on experience or training to figure things out. Wise fools neither have knowledge, nor experience; they figure things out by not knowing what is "known" to be true--in other words, they weren't told it was impossible, they didn't have the experience to tell them that it was impossible--they thought about it, and decided to try it out, and it worked--or possibly, it didn't work when it was supposed to, and then they sat down to try figuring out why.

Star Trek was not supposed to be a show about drama--not primarily anyway. Nor was it to be a show primarily about philosophy. It was to be a show about SCIENCE. [Not sure how to bold or italicize words here, sorry.]

The best science fiction, I have found, is not particularly dramatic. It can be, but it usually isn't. This is because science, when used appropriately, is either used to avoid drama in the first place, or used to fix the drama when it wasn't avoided. When used inappropriately, science is just a bundle of unrelated factoids or trivia which allows people to kill each other more effectively.

Examples of good science fiction include Isaac Asimov's Foundation/Robots Trilogy, Arthur C. Clarke's novels, including 2001: A Space Odyssey--and Robert A. Heinlein's novels, including Starship Troopers, and Citizen of the Galaxy (I have not read Stranger in a Strange Land). H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne are also notable examples. Other examples of science fiction, where science is actually utilized, not just spouted out, are the detective novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, and last but certainly not least--Agatha Christie. Most of these examples are not particularly good drama, but they are utilize science well.

This might be because all of the authors I have mentioned were also scientists, engineers, military, physicians or otherwise engaged in professions or situations in which forensic, scientific thought is required, in addition to being writers.

I don't know much about Gene Roddenberry, but a quick glance at the Wikipedia page shows that he flew 89 combat missions--if he hadn't developed some line of scientific thought during that time, he would have died during those missions, and Star Trek would never have existed. Having your life on the line as a pilot...actually, hold that thought. It says here that he piloted a plane that overshot the runway on landing, killing the bombardier and navigator. Roddenberry was absolved of responsibility, and he then spent time as a plane crash investigator.

In other words, Roddenberry was also someone who developed scientific, and forensic lines of thinking.

In other words, Roddenberry was writing science fiction.

In other words, most writers have NOT developed some kind of scientific thought, and most people don't HAVE a scientific background.

In other words, Star Trek started out as science fiction with Roddenberry at the helm. Slowly but surely it has become a bad drama franchise. Deep Space Nine was a major culprit in this, although that was quite well done, and the writers probably learned something from Roddenberry, even as they tried to get away from a scientific or forensic line of thinking, and back to drama.

In other words, I'd suggest re-watching Encounter at Farpoint again. This time, from the viewpoint of the concepts that EaF was establishing. One of the major complaints you have Jammer, about a story, is when a story is repetitive.

Good science is repetitive. Good science fiction is repetitive. Good science is simple. Good science fiction is simple. Good science is not easy to understand. Good science fiction is not easy to understand. Good science fiction is not drama. Good science prevents drama from happening.

Some of the very best science fiction episodes of Star Trek, like Encounter at Farpoint, or the Corbomite Maneuver--because of their simple, repetitive ideas, you misunderstood because you reviewed them from a drama, or a philosophical focus. They did not have a drama or philosophy focus. They had a scientific focus. A simple scientific focus, that made strange new ideas easy to understand.

The trouble is, if something is easy, we don't appreciate it. If something is simple, we don't understand it, unless it fits in with what we already "know" to be true. If something is complex, and technically difficult to accomplish, but fits within what we already know--we very frequently automatically admire it, even when it's a load of rubbish.

"The Cage", "Encounter at Farpoint" and Star Trek as a whole, is about preventing drama from happening. This is why we explore strange new worlds, and seek out new life, and civilizations--we go forth boldly, because if we don't know what's out there, we don't know what to defend ourselves from. Ignoring the wide open universe is just asking for trouble, and science--therefore science fiction, is all about preventing drama from happening. When that fails, it's about fixing the problem so that it doesn't happen again.

In Encounter at Farpoint, Roddenberry made it very clear that humanity had almost been obliterated, and finally learned from their mistakes. Perhaps, you could even say, that Star Trek is not one man's dream of a utopian future.

No.

Star Trek is a dream of a tired military pilot, who flew too many combat missions, saw too many people die, saw too many accidents happen that could have been prevented if people would just start thinking. Because in the end, money doesn't matter if money gets you, and the people around you killed. Star Trek was the ultimate condemnation of the stupidity of humans today. The stupidity in dreams of climbing the social ladder at the cost of what's important. The stupidity, and deadliness, of fantasies and drama.

We must go forth boldly. We must try out new ideas. We must make peace with what's out there, in whatever form it may appear. But we must do so, because our lives depend on it, not because our wallets do.

This isn't a new idea. Roddenberry isn't a visionary. What he tried to do was communicate a simple idea of how things could be better, if people understood the important things. Unfortunately, Roddenberry himself clearly didn't understand what exactly the important things were, or more accurately, how they applied to every situation--or at least, not before they blew up in his face.

This has been going on since the dawn of history. Most people never learn. Some people try to, but eventually fall, and do not get up again. Others refuse to learn in the first place. A few are wise fools, who fail, and learn, and ultimately endure.

I think I'm one of the "can't seem to get up again" crowd, in case you're curious.

In a nutshell, Discovery can't be salvaged because it doesn't have people who understand scientific or forensic lines of thought, applied to everyday life. The very core of Star Trek--the bit that all the money in the world can't buy; the bit that started the whole franchise--is something so alien to what the majority of people want from it.

People want drama. They don't want science, because the job of science is to prevent drama from happening. In order to do this properly, the Enterprise has to boldly go, to find the drama, before it finds them. That, to me, is the nature of Trek...

...but I'm probably wrong. In fact, I'm almost certainly wrong somewhere. Let me know if you think you've figured out where, and inform me what I did incorrectly, so that I may correct my understanding for future endeavours. Thanks.
Chrome
Wed, May 30, 2018, 7:17am (UTC -5)
“democracy does NOT WORK when people don't think about the consequences.”

I don’t think this was the message of the episode. At the end of the show, the now “enlightened” Lysella turns off the television. If the episode was trying to teach the viewer to learn about consequences she would need to watch a better channel or read a paper or a book. So, it’s more of an anti-media, particular anti-FAKE NEWS message.

Incidentally the ending is almost identical to the 1996 movie Cable Guy, though I think that movie actually did it better by offering an alternative to television.
Peter G.
Wed, May 30, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
@ Astronut 7,

Although I appreciate a well-intentioned manifesto as much as the next guy, and even agree that Trek needs to be about *something* important, I think you got totally wrong what that something is.

And as a side note, upping the ante to a discussion about suicide was probably not necessary.

Anyhow, I'll summarize my criticism of your position in this way:

"Star Trek was supposed to be a show about science. Now, there's a couple of different types of science, and practically everyone gets confused about which one a person is talking about. In a nutshell, there's the "book smart," "street smart," and "wise fool" types of science."

Sorry, but no. There are not different "kinds" of science, if by science you mean following the scientific method in a controlled setting. A century or more ago the word "science" actually just meant 'body of knowledge' so you instance it could be said that you had a science of cooking, or science of painting, but that's not what the word means any more so I assume you're using it in the currently correct sense. Do you study science, through reading textbooks, taking classes, practicing in the field, or anything other way? If so you'd find that the idea that there are different ways to be scientific is anathema to the community's standards. The whole point of peer review is to verify that you've followed *correct* methodology. I make this comment not to nitpick but rather to point out that you may not be in the best position to critique Trek's 'scientific' content.

And frankly, Trek isn't about science much at all. If it was no one would enjoy it. TNG did a great job making it feel like we were seeing scientific exploration and problem-solving, and that's awesome, but TOS had zero of that, and DS9 only a minimal amount. However the franchise was never about science, it was about a vision of man's future as better people in a more enlightened age. As you say, this happens after nearly wiping ourselves out. But what we learn from that is that we need to *be* better, not have better technology. This can count as a rebuttal to those recent posters who don't care for a straight-laced Federation. TOS is pretty much all about philosophy and humanistic exploration, not at all about science, and of course serves up contemporary allegory as well such as Cold War narratives.

I probably agree that the lack of scientific-type reasoning hurts DISC, but I don't think that's at the core of its problems. I think the main problem is its creators have no personal integrity as storytellers. They want to impress, but have nothing to say.
Astronut7
Wed, May 30, 2018, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
Pick up a dictionary sometime. Dictionaries don't describe how a word should be used, but the people who make them record how a word is most commonly used.

Science. "A systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject."

That is NOT labelled as an archaic definition. That means it's still in common, widespread use today. There are people who use the word science to mean the formal procedure. There are people who use it to mean any systematically organized body of knowledge. There are also people who use it to refer to a particular way of thinking, which does not involve bureaucratic formal procedure.

When I use the word "science" I fluctuate between all of these meanings, and you're going to have to figure out from the context which one I mean at any given moment.

When other people use the word "science"--or any particular word expressing an idea, they are usually unaware that there is any other way of using the concept other than the one they've traditionally used--or they forget. You fell into that trap. Do better next time, otherwise I'll subject you to the terror of puns. :P

Just to be clear, I'm not very picky on how a word should be used. All I'm trying to make you aware of is that when a dictionary lists definitions of a word, that means ALL of those definitions have to be considered when communicating with another person, not just one of them. Figuring out the context is the real problem, and trying to remember all the probable meanings of a word is a pain in the neck.

And no. The major difference between philosophy and science is that in science you have to test your ideas against something. Star Trek tried to be about science. Not philosophy--although granted, it may be argued that science is a philosophy, but a very important type where the distinction should be made.

There is no one "scientific method". Heck, there was a scientific convention held in Munich within the last couple of years, where scientists were arguing about whether the various formalized, bureaucratic procedures that they've been using needed to be abandoned in favour of something else--mostly because the String Theorist crowd aren't getting anywhere, it seems.

Furthermore, I didn't up the ante. I merely informed you of how high the stakes were. The stakes are always related to the probability of death. Death is pretty much the one constant we can test all of our societal laws, and customs, and behaviours against. I'm sorry, but what have you been paying attention to? Because it certainly wasn't Star Trek if you fail to understand that.

You talk about a more enlightened age, yet fail to realize that the way of thinking set by Galileo, Newton, and Einstein--who were scientists who broke or preceded the bureaucratic convention set by...well, frankly, the lesser minds of the "scientific consensus"--that way of thinking was supposed to be that light. Not some wimpy philosophy.

Here's a little factoid for you: the one thing Aristotle got right was his detailed observations, and theories of biological creatures. That was also the one thing that was dismissed by the intelligentsia, in favour of the more beautiful ideas of the four elements.

So, get this idea that science is a formalized procedure with only one procedure out of your head. It CAN'T be, because a formalized procedure CANNOT ADAPT. Science is a mode of thinking that boils down to this: observe, record, and test. How you observe, record, and test, is up to us as individuals--and the consequences of choosing inadequate procedures is also up to individuals, and how we communicate, and interact.

That's it. The "scientific method" found in our books and taught in schools was simply written because schools needed a formalized procedure that sounded good in order so that non-scientists could teach students, yet maintain their authority.

Bit tricky that. If a good scientist is constantly observing, recording, and testing literally everything, that includes whether or not an authority is just. It would be interesting to find out why Einstein failed to get good grades in school.

As for people not watching science--no. I already said that people want drama, not science, and that science COULD be dramatic, so I don't think so. Mythbusters managed all right, as does David Attenborough's documentaries. Mostly because as I already stated, science CAN be dramatic. One dealt with explosives. The other dealt with nature, meaning life, and death. That's drama. It's when science fails to capture the imagination that people don't want anything to do with it. When people have to actually alter their methods of thinking, and behaving, due to science, we REALLY don't want anything to do with it.

Refusing to recognize that the ante is already on the subject of life and death, and instead blaming me for upping the ante? That's a pretty normal reaction from a human being. Attempting to dismiss uncomfortable, but necessary subjects as "too serious" is also a pretty normal reaction from a human being. Heck, I do it as well. I try not to. But I believe that you can do better than "normal." Stop trying to disappoint me.

One of the rules that Gene Roddenberry had was "no conflict" between the core cast of characters of TNG. He had the same rule in TOS actually, but people, including the writers, can't seem to figure out what "no conflict" meant.

You see, the core cast of characters of TOS and TNG were supposed to set an example. They were LAW ENFORCEMENT, scientists, physicians, and engineers. Starting with Deep Space Nine, and latter TNG, the writers got LAW ENFORCEMENT completely confused with THE MILITARY. Again, sorry for the ALL-CAPS. Still not sure how to italicize.

The core cast of TOS, and the core cast of TNG did, ultimately, set a pretty good example to the rest of us--although definitely not all the time, because there were failures, but they tried to learn from them. TOS had familiar types of people filling familiar, comfortable roles that people could relate to. The Next Generation took it one step further, by showing how humanity may progress in the future, with people that sometimes almost seemed more alien and inhuman than Spock.

Ultimately, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and Discovery's casts tended to set a poor example to the rest of us. This is because the writers were focused on making the characters think and act far too much like us, rather than actually being better than us.

Most people don't think like law enforcement, or like people who have seen death in the face. Most people don't bother trying to apply forensics, and scientific modes of thinking to everyday life. TOS, and TNG, share that common ground, and tried to show us a better example, failing, and learning along the way.

Star Trek Discovery was almost going into histrionics claiming that Michael Burnham was "the best" and the Discovery was "cutting edge" and everything was going to be "better." That turned out to be crap. Also, don't forget, by setting the events ten years before everything else, (aside from ENT), they can say, "FIRST! We did it first!"

Star Trek TOS rarely if ever claimed that the Enterprise was the "best" at anything. She was a "good ship." The Enterprise was always venturing into the unknown, and they quite often came across wreckage of those that had made the attempt before them.

The pilot episode of TOS established that the Enterprise was good, but not good enough to be certain of surviving what's out there, and certainly not the best.

When Picard stepped onto the Enterprise-D, he was astonished, not by the technology, but by the...comfort, luxury, and space. It wasn't the best ship in the fleet. It was a good ship. Nice pacing room. Comfy seats. Patrick Stewart was annoyed about the captive fish. It could go toe-to-toe with a Klingon warship, but it was no match for something like Q.

The very first episode of TNG established that the Enterprise was good, but not good enough to be certain of surviving what's out there, even after encountering many situations like this before (Picard shrugs Q off, and sips tea--as if we're going to be damned, let us be damned for what we truly are).

Voyager, Enterprise, and Discovery all tried to establish that they were "the best", "the first", and "more real, and relatable." Deep Space Nine did "the best", and "more real, and relatable", but credit where credit is due--they never claimed to be "the best"--although they DID claim that TNG was lording it over everyone else, with "the best ship" because Sisko was very bitter about his loss, and probably because the writers were very bitter about certain restrictions they had previously worked under.

Heck, Discovery essentially tried to make the ship Q-lite. Teleportation? A galaxy-wide spore-drive? Constantly being at the centre of everything, as if everything depended on Michael Sue, or...oh, heck, I can't even remember the names of the characters. I don't want to remember. I need that space for other things. The loopy guy that's hooked up to the shroom dream machine, that could see all of time and space.

If you can see all of time and space, you are Q-lite. TNG and TOS already made the point that human beings are not psychologically equipped to deal with that kind of power. There's no science if you can be at the centre of all things. The simple way of thinking that is science is very definitely what Star Trek has been lacking over the years, not some bureaucratic procedure determined by consensus.

Integrity is part and parcel of science. Science is about finding truth. You can't do that if you don't have any integrity yourself.

Heck, one thing Discovery did right was having the shady military guy at the top, constantly chastising people for not doing well enough, and running the sims again because the stakes were that people would die. Pity the show then made him out to be some prat from the alternate universe. What a waste.
Chrome
Wed, May 30, 2018, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
“You see, the core cast of characters of TOS and TNG were supposed to set an example. They were LAW ENFORCEMENT, scientists, physicians, and engineers. Starting with Deep Space Nine, and latter TNG, the writers got LAW ENFORCEMENT completely confused with THE MILITARY. Again, sorry for the ALL-CAPS. Still not sure how to italicize. ”

I’m not sure why you classify the crew of TNG or TOS as law enforcement. Law enforcement’s mission is to serve and protect the citizens through policing people with a code of regulations. The mission of the Enterprise is to seek out new life and new civilization...to boldly go where no one has gone before. In other words, the Enterprise is a group of brash explorers. They don’t care about policing and indeed disregard the law at times. What they care about is meeting new life while sticking to their core beliefs. Yes, the beliefs are important for them, but they don’t expect every species they encounter to stick to Federation beliefs.
Peter G.
Wed, May 30, 2018, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
@ Astronut7,

I can't address the wall of text, but in short what I thought is the case, which you sort of said outright, which is that you're equivocating on the word "science". As I mentioned there's an old (but not defunct) use of it such as saying "I've got this worked out to a science" or "the science of dating" or other such colloquial uses. We get that. When you say that a show is "about science" it's ridiculous to imply this means that it's a show about "bodies of knowledge in an arbitrary area, which can include anything from knitting to stamp collecting". If you say a show is about science that means it's about the scientific method, or work done in 'the sciences' (physics, biology, etc). You can be as flambuoyant as you want in your language choice but when you communicate with others the syntax will usually dictate what a term means, and that's what it means in that context.

As I said in general I agree with the general spirit of what you're trying to say, that a show needs to know what it's about and to deliver that thing with integrity rather than pandering to slogans and hyperbole. But we may disagree on what that thing actually has been for Trek over the years. I do think 'that thing' changed over time, or perhaps simply began to disappear without being replaced by anything, as the more recent series and films strike me as being about not very much of anything at all.
Astronut7
Wed, May 30, 2018, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome
I'll be honest with you. I watched some of the episode, then turned the TV off, amusingly enough. Like I said, I don't particularly like the Orville--mostly because I can see where it's heading, and it's about very awkward people. As an awkward person myself, there's only so much extra awkwardness that I can deal with before I have to switch off.

I can try watching the episode again, but I'll defer to your judgement if I can't get through it. If that is the case though, then the episode didn't do as well a job of conveying the message it needed to as I assumed--not thought, assumed, because I didn't watch the episode to the end, I simply read the Wiki article, and based by assumption on the principle of the phrase "Majority Rule."

Democracy does not work when it doesn't have a solid foundation. The very fact that fake news exists undermines the foundation of everything that any individual, group, or organization works to build.

Majority Rule is a crap idea in the first place. It presumes that individuals act with some common goal, or foundation. The US of A, for example, has the Constitution--but people can't agree on what it means, and nor do they have the methods of thinking that would allow them to examine the document. Heck, statistically most people can't understand long articles, because their attention span is about the length of a Twitter comment. I'm not trying to be insulting. This is a statistical fact for the majority of people--we do not, as a majority, have the capacity to make well-reasoned, rational judgements, or the capability to conduct the appropriate research.

Neither do politicians. Now, considering that I don't live in the US of A, and barely know the name of one political party from the other...let's see, there's the Demoprats, and the Reputridcans, right? Any other political parties I should know about? The USA does have more than two, right? Not certain, because those are the only ones I've heard about, by their bad reputations.

One thing I do know though, is the guy ostensibly in charge of the nuthouse at the moment is both a politician, and in the real-estate business.

I don't care what the media says. I am not going to trust a single word out of the mouth of someone who is both a politician and in the real-estate business. Politicians are liars. Real estate businessmen are liars. Both of them together is a liar squared. In order for any person in the position of both to get me to trust them, they'd have to give up all their political power, and all of their excess money and possessions first. I suspect that this is not something likely to occur.

Sorry for the side-rant. I've had bad experiences with both groups of people, and simply listening to the guy for five minutes tells me that he is no different than the very worst of both. I've listened to the guy for far more than five minutes, and I don't need some media person waffling on telling me "alleged" this and "alleged" that to figure out the guy's a criminal with the attitude of a mob boss, and I don't even want to live on the same planet as a person like him, because he's someone that'll screw everything up, for everyone, and get people killed for short-term power, and profit--which he has already done.
---------------------------------
Anyway, back to the point. Television is not the problem. The media isn't the problem. The majority of people not being able to discern truth from fiction, and deciding things as a majority, or as a minority group, instead of individuals with an individual brain? That's a problem. Frankly, it ain't a problem that's going to be fixed until virtually all of humanity is wiped out due to its own stupidity, again, and we can start over.

Especially with the "respect other people's opinions" crap. The only thing that I respect is the probability that all of our opinions, including my own, are wrong. I respect the fact that sometimes, nobody is right--until long after the fact. If opinions are wrong, and other people act on them, people very often end up dead.

I know I have faults. I'm trying to track them down. Even if I successfully fix my idiocies, I'm only one person--there's only so much I can do, and that means, in a world where humanity is NOT focused on trying to fix the problems that matter, I'm going to fail constantly, and as a result, I will contribute towards the general situation, which involves people dying due to worldwide stupidity. That's the world I live in, and it is not a safe world.

Now, if everyone just shut up, stopped rushing to climb the social ladder, and started thinking, and trying to identify and fix problems before they happen--especially the uncomfortable ones that didn't seem like such a big deal before, that's a world I could live in, and reasonably expect to be safe. Unfortunately, with the current state of affairs, it's nothing more than a pipe dream.

Don't get me wrong. Democracy CAN work. But it relies on the majority of people not being idiots when making decisions, and uh...that's not the case.

Anyway, I'm signing off. I really just popped in to offer my thoughts. Maybe I'll check back later, and see what I did wrong, and what people are upset about now. Hopefully I haven't annoyed anyone too much, and hopefully at least a couple of things I've said turn out to be practical, and relevant. Thanks for reading.
Chrome
Wed, May 30, 2018, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
“I'll be honest with you. I watched some of the episode, then turned the TV off, amusingly enough. Like I said, I don't particularly like the Orville--mostly because I can see where it's heading, and it's about very awkward people. As an awkward person myself, there's only so much extra awkwardness that I can deal with before I have to switch off. “

That is amusing that you switched it off since it’s tantamount to the message made by the episode. I think the writers wanted us to question jumping to conclusions based on sensationalism (which happens often in social media) but there is something a bit off in the execution like they couldn’t really think of a solution besides not participating at all.

“Democracy does not work when it doesn't have a solid foundation. The very fact that fake news exists undermines the foundation of everything that any individual, group, or organization works to build.”

This I do agree with. There were early revolutionaries in the U.S. like Thomas Jefferson who wanted the electorate be highly educated and suggested policies educating women and minorities. Unfortunately, if you know U.S. history, his policies to that end didn’t catch on until the late 19th and early 20th century.

Though I will add, perhaps idealistically, that “Fake News” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. People can be moved by a piece of fake news into learning what the truth is. I think if I had to choose between fake news or no news I’d take fake news because at least it gets people talking and asking questions. Ultimately, the power of news outlets to fool people can only go so far.
Astronut7
Wed, May 30, 2018, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
Or at least, I would sign off, if I didn't spot that comment.

Look mate, what I'm saying is that people use the word in different ways, and don't realize it. If you talk to people outside your social circle, you'll find far too many people who couldn't tell you what the scientific method was if you wrote it down for them and explained it beforehand.

I'm also saying that some science is not particularly dependent on the current members, and organizations set up by the scientific community. If an apocalypse happened, and all of our knowledge, and infrastructure was lost--if people started over from scratch, you'd find some people that had a method of thinking that was scientific, and most people would have methods of thinking that got them into trouble.

Now, I've had this type of discussion before, with a linguistics professor, about the word "listen." It doesn't matter what you think the word means. The important thing you must recognize is that people in general use words in all kinds of ways, and that communication between these different people is very difficult when someone is being stubborn about how words should be used, instead of how to identify when words are being used differently.

I'm talking about a concept. Let's call it Concept X. You are talking about a different concept. You have also decided to call it Concept X. I'm familiar with the fact that the words "Concept X" may not mean the same thing to other people, but I'm still trying to relay to you what my concept is, and you're not helping by trying to say that I'm wrong by calling it "Concept X."

Now "Concept Science" covers least three different concepts. Much the same way that, to pick a random example, "cook" can refer to someone who cooks, or the action of cooking, or even a specific individual's name, like James Cook, the explorer. Not actually a random example. I'm hungry.

Star Trek is missing "Concept X." Stop telling me about your "Concept X", and how it doesn't mean mine.

Oh, and Discovery is a show which doesn't show much organization. Note the poor plot, and characters, and introduction of concepts which quite literally allow the Discovery to do practically anything with the spore drive.

And science? Physics covers interactions of objects. Humans are objects. Biology covers the reason for emotions, and the physical and mental reason for human behaviour.

"All science is either physics or stamp-collecting"--Ernest Rutherford. You can look up the science of knitting too if you want.

Another thing is the "wall of text". That phrase originally meant a literal wall of text with no formatting or punctuation whatsoever. What people tend to mean now when they say that, is that most are incapable, or unwilling to read or reply with the appropriate forethought, to long messages, and that the writer should be ashamed of putting so much effort into their message. I'm going to assume that you meant "I don't have the time right now"--which is fine--you don't have to reply, because I probably won't be able to read it until weeks down the line--instead of "Make your comments shorter for my convenience, irrespective of how much effort you put into trying to be clear, and cover various angles, so that confusion doesn't result"--like most people.

I'm not blaming you for this. All I'm trying to do is inform you that there is a problem, and it's a widespread problem, especially when people are about to sign legal documents, for example.

@Chrome
Um...Man Trap. Very first episode aired of TOS. Makes it clear that part of the Enterprise's mission is checking on outposts, and ensuring everything is up to par. That includes a person's medical health. That's law enforcement, kind of like the Sheriff or a Ranger in the Wild West. As for TNG, the Enterprise-D didn't venture outside of Starfleet territory much from what I recall--it mostly was concerned about exploring the extent of what was supposed to be WITHIN the Federation-protected space, and not say, within the Klingon Empire. Also there was a lot of border patrolling around the Neutral Zone.

That's law enforcement. Charging in with a fleet, all guns blazing--that's military, and not a particularly effective military at that.

Remember the differently coloured shirts. There were the command staff, which laid down the law. There were the engineers, which also laid down the law. There were the medical staff, which also lay down the law. There was also security, which enforced the law.

Sure, they were explorers. But Star Trek is about law enforcement, and extending the law to those who wish to be protected by it, and figuring out the extent of the law, and when it fails to cover the new circumstances, such as in "The Measure of a Man."

Star Wars is about fighting the enemy of the state, and being the enemy of a corrupt state. Star Trek is about law enforcement.

Now, I'm cold, I'm hungry, and I'm going to get something to eat, and warm up. Take the time to think, and discuss the points I've brought up among yourselves. I might be back. I might not. But surely I've given you enough material to keep you occupied for a while. Have fun.
Peter G.
Wed, May 30, 2018, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
@ Astronut7,

"I'm familiar with the fact that the words "Concept X" may not mean the same thing to other people, but I'm still trying to relay to you what my concept is,"

I'm understanding about communication difficulty in general, and especially if someone isn't from the same country and doesn't have the same first language (for example). So I can't say how the word "science" is used in Scandinavia, and should specify that when I say that "X is about science" refers to the scientific method, I mean that this is what that means when this phrase is used in North America. I don't claim to know exactly how it's used elsewhere. I could have been more clear about that, sorry.

"Star Trek is missing "Concept X." Stop telling me about your "Concept X", and how it doesn't mean mine."

I already agree with your general principle that Trek needs to have "concept X". I was disputing what that actual concept should be, which is what I think we like to do on boards like this. We don't have to agree.

"Another thing is the "wall of text"."

That ended up more passive-aggressive than I wanted. Sorry about that too.

"Sure, they were explorers. But Star Trek is about law enforcement, and extending the law to those who wish to be protected by it, and figuring out the extent of the law, and when it fails to cover the new circumstances, such as in "The Measure of a Man.""

It's pretty hard to make an argument that the show is about something when the title sequence says outright their mission is to "explore strange NEW" worlds. Whether those happen to be within Federation borders, or in the Beta Quardrant or Gamma Quadrant or anywhere else, that's their mission statement. As you say they do other things do, but Picard repeatedly states that the ship is a ship of exploration. Not a diplomatic vessel, not a combat vessel, and not an law enforcement vessel. To the extent that Starfleet is a space navy they also need their ships to conduct police actions, negotiations, and anything else with a danger element not suitable to civilian cruisers. Do they ever go on missions to enforce the law? Yes, just as they also go on missions to save people in a medical crisis. That doesn't make them a law enforcement ship any more than it makes them a medical ship. They can do more than one thing and still be fundamentally explorers.
Astronut7
Wed, May 30, 2018, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
I have a little extra time, so I'm back for a moment. Yeah, I didn't mean to be passive-aggressive, either. Sorry about that, too. No worries from this end.

As long as we're both understanding that communication between people is a big problem, and that words like "science" are tricky. I used to live in Canada--the Maritimes, and near the Thousand Islands. Had a long holiday in Quebec, too. So, in my experience, "science" really doesn't mean the same thing across all or even most of North America.

What I find I have to do, is get an individual to express what they think a word like "science" or "listen" or "law" means, and how they arrived at that conclusion--then, once they've done that, I can do the same thing for how I arrived at my conclusion. If someone is focused on how a word should be used, rather than what an individual is trying to express using that word...problems occur.

For example, that linguistics professor I mentioned was completely convinced that the word "listen" ALWAYS meant that the person listening should do what the speaker said. I had to explain to that individual that yes, that's true SOME of the time, but people can also "listen for a sound", and it doesn't mean they have to do what the sound says. That professor was adamant that "listen" must not be used in any other way. I can only conclude that the professor arrived at that conclusion, likely because of certain personal issues with students. Unfortunately, the linguistics professor wasn't listening, in the sense that my advice was not heeded--perhaps because they were listening for signs of obedience, and weren't finding them. Fortunately, I'm not a student of that individual.

Yes, Star Trek is about exploring strange NEW worlds. However, this is why I'm linking the concepts of "science" and "law" together.

Human law is NOT a fixed entity. It can't be, because we don't know what the UNIVERSAL laws are. Science CAN be described as a type of thinking; a particular act of cognition. There's the formalized, bureaucratic procedure linked to that. There's also the large body of knowledge linked to that.

But without the particular act of cognition exhibited by certain individuals like Galileo, neither the scientific knowledge we have, nor the scientific procedures we have, would exist.

That particular type of cognition is INVALUABLE in law, and in encountering strange NEW worlds. Because the procedures we have aren't perfect. The laws we've created aren't perfect. The body of knowledge we have is so small compared to what's out there.

The universe sets the LAW. We must find out what that LAW is, and we have all these little laws--scientific, or societal, that must constantly be re-examined and TESTED. How better to test these ideas, than by exploring strange new worlds? How better to be protected, than by finding out what the universal laws actually are, and whether our human laws could be improved?
Astronut7
Thu, May 31, 2018, 7:01am (UTC -5)
@Peter G., @Jammer
Just a quick addendum.

Gene Roddenberry, early life.
--Police science at college.
--Aeronautical Engineer.
--Pilot with 87 combat missions in the United States Airforce. 1942-1945, Pacific Theatre of War.
--As a pilot, crashed plane on landing. Bombardier, and Navigator Dead.
--Absolved of blame, went on to become plane crash investigator.
-- Two more plane crashes, once as passenger, once flying third officer for Pan-Am. Dragged people out of the burning plane with two broken ribs. Organized the group to scout for help. Fourteen people dead. Resigned from Pan-Am. Note that the plane went down in the Syrian Desert.
--Signed up for the Los Angeles Police.
--Starting writing. Promoted diversity, and diplomacy, and law, and scientific thought, through his writings.

What kind of show would someone who went through all of this write? Does Discovery meet those standards? Heck, does it have anyone who experienced events like these on the writing team? Would a person like this get along with writers who want to write drama?

Why would a person like this wish to explore strange new worlds? To seek out new life and civilizations? To boldly go where no one has gone before?

What would a person like this be looking for? Aside from exotic women. This is Roddenberry we're talking about. :P
Chrome
Thu, May 31, 2018, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Rick Berman’s background was nothing like Roddenberry’s yet he still went on to successfully produce the later seasons of TNG and DS9. Star Trek doesn’t need to be exactly the show Roddenberry would make in order to be good.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, May 31, 2018, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
@Astronut7
"If there was a 'big dramatic departure' and a subsequent return months later, then OTDP very clearly has strong feelings about the subject of Star Trek--strong enough that attempting to bury the issue with a 'Don't take it personally' is nothing more than trite. Whatever happened, even with the limited information I have, it very clearly got personal enough that a person was forced out of the discussion, and the community on this website."

Funny how things can be *that* obvious to an outsider, heh?

What makes the situation even more maddening, is that I've been an active and respected member of this community for many months. But apparently, once you voice an unpopular opinion, people have no problem forgetting everything they know and label you as a drama-seeking troublemaker.

"If someone states that they are 'permanently leaving' a community due to a bad experience, then that's an indication that they may be considering suicide."

Nah... I'm not stupid enough to destroy myself just because other people are being unfair and mean. As Jammer correctly stated once: I'm strong enough to take it.

The reason for my statement of "permanently leaving" was quite different: I have no business staying in a place where a mob tries to silence me with mockery. Yes, I *can* take it. But I don't want to.

Now, if this situation changed somehow, then I would be happy to forget and forgive. But you've seen the most recent responses. The odds of this happening are practically nil (and there's a reason I'm responding to you and not to them).

Of-course, none of this is "personal" per-se. The rule of the majority is never "personal". That's exactly what makes it so terrifying. The current situaiton has nothing to do with me. It has to do with people being unfair to those they disagree with. To be blunt: if a community cannot hold a civil discussion without resorting to senseless mockery, then the person who happens to be on the receiving end is not the problem.

(and it's really telling that all those people who yell at me that "you haven't seen the show!" can't bring a single shred of evidence that my "preconceptions" about Discovery are wrong)

P.S.
The mention of "suicide" made me wonder: Why is it that people almost never stop to think about their online behavior, until someone pulls the "suicide" trump card? Pro tip: being a bully and a jerk towards someone is not okay, period. Especially on a discussion board. Even if a person is 100% certain that being an ass isn't harming anyone in any way, they're still harming the discussion.

Really, what's the big idea of mocking decades-long Trekkies when they voice their opinion? How does this help the discussion in any way? I've sat through 700+ episodes of Star Trek, and I have a quite informed view on what "Star Trek" is. Do I need to watch a full season of - say - The Sopranos to confidently say that it isn't Star Trek? Do you realize how foolish and childish that "you gotta watch the showwwwww" rant is?

I'm getting really *really* sick of people who think that mockery is a valid subtitution to an actual argument. So to all the guys who repeatedly mocked my views, I say: Either prove me wrong or shut the f*** up.

(and to Astronut7: please tell me if anybody has written a reply worth reading. Because I'm done reading all the drivel that's directed at me here)


OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, May 31, 2018, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
BTW, regarding the "Star Trek is about science" thing:

Star Trek, when it is at its best, is about exploration and awe and wonder. It's also about how science and technology can improve our lives.

IOW while the show isn't *about* science, it has a very science-oriented philosophy in its core. Which, funnily enough, also jives perfectly with the other things that make Star Trek special (it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize the connection between a love-of-exploration and the abolishment of bigotry).

None of this is relevant to Discovery, of-course. "Make the empire glorious again" indeed... (I still can't believe they went with that quote. What *were* they thinking?)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, May 31, 2018, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
Just found time to read *all* of Astronut7's posts. It took a while - a very interesting and somewhat controversial (in a good way!) read.

@Astronut7

Regarding DS9, Voyager and Enterprise, I both agree and disagree with you.

I agree that these crews behaved in a less "perfect" way, but:

1. They were still light years better then the way people behave today. I still consider Sisko, Janeway and Archer to be good role-models (usually. The only episode which drives me completely nuts in this respect is DS9's "For the Uniform". What the hell, hero? That episode should never have been made).

2. Their "less-than-perfectness" made sense in-universe, given the premise of each of these series. DS9 facing the dominion threat. Enterprise being a prequel (say what you will about that series, but it *did* show us a believable transitionary phase of humanity between the present and the seemingly perfect crew of the Enterprise-D). As for Voyager... well, I'm not sure why you included Voyager in this mix at all, because it is mostly a TNG clone that's quite faithful to the original Roddenberry ideal. That show had myriad of other problems (in my opinion VOY is the weakest Trek) but betraying the Star Trek Ethos wasn't one of them.

3. These deviations from the original Roddenberry vision mostly served as a way to examine that very vision. As Sisko said, it is easy to be saint in paradise. So how do 24th century humans behave when their paradise is facing a truely existential threat? I love DS9 for examining this question, which TNG never had the guts to explore. It's easy to take the moral high ground when you have all the guns.

My only regret is that this story was never completed. We've never seen the aftermath of the Dominion War. We've never seen the Federation picking up the pieces and regaining their moral dignity. And judging from the crap that masquerades as "Star Trek" in the past decade, I doubt we'll ever will.

4. DS9, Voyager and Enterprise made the effort to tell good stories. DS9 in particular, was a pillar of story-telling. Yes, it did drama and had action, but these didn't get in the way of telling an intelligent sci fi story. At no point do we get the feeling that DS9/VOY/ENT are nothing but a cheap cynical cash grab.

(Some *scenes* in Enterprise do feel that way. The gratitious wannabe-sex scenes for example. But these scenes stand out like a sore thumb, precisely because Enterprise is *not* that kind of show)

Now, I can understand if you don't like the story-telling styles of these shows. For a person who comes for the "science" in "sci fi", DS9 will be pretty much unwatchable. But that's a matter of personal taste. I think that if we look at things objectively, then TOS,TNG,DS9,VOY and ENT fit quite well into the same conceptual universe. The fact that they are all so different from one another only serves to make that universe richer. After all, it's a big cosmos out there. There's enough room in it for science, interspecies politics, exploration, drama and a million other things.

And the problem with Discovery, quite simply, is that it does not fit. I'm not talking about nerdy continuity nit-picking. They've simply made zero effort on this front. And as you said yourself, the producers were fundamentally dishonest about the nature of the show.

I guess that at least one positive thing did come from Discovery: It gave some people a new appreciation for "Enterprise" as a prequel. Given the complete mess we've gotten here, Enterprise suddenly looks like the golden standard of prequels, doesn't it? Finally people are beginning to understand that B&B actually did *care* about continuity. Maybe not enough, but they did.

Astronut7
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:02am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
Actually, a quick look at the Wikipedia page shows that Rick Berman:
a) Came from a Jewish family--and for me, Jewish culture has a strong reputation of upholding, discussing, and maintaining the law.
b) Travelled all over the world, and made his way as an INDEPENDENT producer, turning down, or dismissing options open to him which he considered as having a low probability of success.
c) Wrote industrial and documentary films for clients such as the United Nations, and the United States Information Agency.

The backgrounds don't look similar at first glance, but because I was looking for whether or not Rick Berman had a background in "law" and "science"--well, it quite clearly shows he had at least some experience in dealing with it. Not nearly as much as Roddenberry, but enough to at least maintain some of the soul (the ideas) of Star Trek, for quite some time...although later series showed that whatever experience he once had, it got buried.

No offence intended to Alex Kurtzman, and Bryan Fuller, the creators of Star Trek Discovery, but even though Bryan Fuller is an avid Star Trek fan, with experience in writing Star Trek, and Alex Kurtzman is also an experienced producer from a Jewish family (the article states a secular Jewish family, so probably less of an emphasis on Jewish laws)--neither of them seem to have any major experience or training in the fields of LAW and SCIENCE. They ARE very experienced in writing or producing DRAMA and ACTION.

Gene Roddenberry HAD the scientific, medical, engineering, and law enforcement experience, with the training, and the very real experience of dealing with death, and personal responsibility for taking, and being unable to save lives.

Rick Berman had some experience WRITING for scientific documentaries, and the worldwide experience, and grew up in a family that I suspect emphasized laws.

Discovery's head team has NEITHER the training or experience, or particular way of thinking that is required in order to teach people the lessons that Star Trek is famous for teaching--from the information I have gleaned.
--------------------------------------------------

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

I'll answer the most important question first.

"Why is it that people almost never stop to think about their online behavior, until someone pulls the "suicide" trump card?"

This is an endemic problem, not just with online behaviour, but with offline behaviour as well. I think it's due to the fact that most people try to AVOID thinking about death, and pain, and loss, and injury, and decay, except under extreme circumstances. These are uncomfortable subjects. I understand that, and I sympathize.

However, I cannot, and will not empathize with these people. [Just a quick note, because I personally get confused about sympathy and empathy--sympathy is "I feel sorry for your situation", empathy is "I feel the same way you do", and understanding requires neither sympathy nor empathy, but is the one we need when dealing with a problem--to STAND UNDER the problem, as if it is about to fall directly on your head--to think about what it would take to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.]

----I have just been reminded that standard business practice, at the end of the financial year, is to spend any excess savings on absolutely anything whatsoever, in order to get the full budget at the start of the next financial year, which would be only weeks or days away. This actively encourages short-term thinking in business, and many make unwise purchases during this time, without the appropriate forethought or consideration, which eventually cripple or bankrupt their business, and possibly even their personal finances, within a few years. Monetary practices like this are stupid, and dangerous, and anathema to long-term planners.----

This is the kind of thinking that is endemic in this world. This is the kind of thinking that PRACTICAL science--engineers, doctors, nurses, police, technicians, lawyers or judges or lawmakers involved in dealing with criminal law, pilots, captains, security personnel, maintenance, environmentalists, and the poor sods who wrote books like the ones in the scathingly cynical but horribly misused Biblical collection--or Lord of the Rings, or the Foundation Trilogy, or even Shakespeare, and people who have seen far too much death, and decay, would like obliterated.

Now, I can't say that Roddenberry's Star Trek is a particularly optimistic look at the future, funnily enough. I CAN say that Roddenberry fully intended to do an author insert.

Captain Pike, and Captain Kirk (before Shatner took over the role), and Captain Picard (before the movies)--are clearly representative of Gene Roddenberry himself, if you know about Gene Roddenberry's early life. Benjamin Sisko definitely had something of that. Janeway didn't--and honestly, aside from "Counterpoint", I didn't think much of the writing of her character. Archer definitely didn't. Burnham's character is extremely suicidal, and acts on hearsay, and prejudice--and the one character who actually showed EVIDENCE of having a decent head on their shoulders a) turned out to be evil, b) didn't kill Harry Mudd like he should have, regardless of the timeline, and c) recruited Burnham, and other people who acted on prejudice.

Or at least, Picard, Pike, and Kirk are representative of what Roddenberry wished he could become. If I were writing Star Trek, I'd be thinking about what I was writing. What I was writing for. What my audience was. What did I wish to communicate?

The audience--would quite naturally, be people like me--and I'm careful, if not to the extent of being stingy, with my finances so good luck getting me to pay for Star Trek Discovery before I've watched it, or now that I've found it not worth paying for. I went out and bought the box sets of TNG, and TOS instead (and then ran out of disposable income, so paying for the Rick Berman series will have to wait).

-------------------------------------------------
I'm very glad that you are still alive, OmicronThetaDeltaPhi. What I was concerned about was not that you were so weak-willed that you would contemplate suicide simply because people didn't agree with you. I was VERY concerned about the fact that I have no idea what ELSE is going on in your life. Therefore, this could have been "THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK." [Sorry, that's supposed to be italicized.]

Let me give you a relevant example from my life to put my care in writing into perspective. At one time, I didn't contact a friend through letter correspondence. Due to certain circumstances, I didn't know what to say, so I left it for a long time. I was specifically told I needed to write a letter, but I refused to do it, because it was too painful, and I couldn't be bothered. When I finally wrote, I received a letter back from the family essentially saying "Thank you for your letter, but your friend died some months ago. They had nothing left to live for."
------------------------------------------------
I'll be damned if I make that mistake again. Sure, if I had written the letter, it probably wouldn't have made a difference, but it MAY have. I can, and will assign blame to other people, but not without reminding myself of what I must do in the future, to prevent the same thing from happening again. Every time we send or fail to send a letter. Every time we receive one. Regardless of what the means of communication is--online, on blogs, through comment sections, being the ones relevant here--people are on the other end, and what we say matters.

I have no idea what is going on in anyone else's life here. The same in that you (shouldn't) have any idea what's going on in mine. But every time I write--or don't write, as the case may be, I am very concerned about the consequences.




All Good Things in this world are based on the understanding that refusal to do the right thing, the right thing according to the UNIVERSAL laws (such as the law of gravity, or electromagnetism, or the nuclear forces), will result in our DECAY, DEATH, or DESTRUCTION.

Furthermore, we have no idea what those laws are, so all we can do is CONSTANTLY test our human laws, trying to figure out whether they correspond to the UNIVERSAL law of LIFE.

Does this make sense? If I were to write the Three Laws of Life, like Newton's Three Laws of Motion, they would look something like this:

LAW ZERO: Don't Die. Refusal to follow these laws causes decay over time, followed by total destruction.
LAW ONE: Think, and observe, and record, and act, with every fiber of your being, every second of every day, all the days of your life, about how not to EVER die (even though the probability of success in this endeavour is small, there may be some tiny hope, hope of enduring, and hope of being saved by those that endure).
LAW TWO: Find all resources, and all people, within your sphere of influence, in whatever form they may be in, that may be able to assist in this endeavour, and assist THEM also, if they share it, by protecting them AS you would yourself.

There are no other laws than these. All leaders. All people. All life must follow these laws, as by law zero, refusal to follow these laws will eventually, over time, end in annihilation.



So, these are the stakes. Trying to talk about things which don't deal with preventing death, and decay won't work, because that's just fantasy, and people too wrapped up in their fantasies cause decay, and death. Trying to say that something like Star Trek is supposed to be about awe and wonder and exploration won't work.

Awe and wonder is what HAPPENS when we explore with a particular mindset--a practical, scientific one, in which we understand that we may die, and we are going to do our very best not to do so. It is not WHY we explore.

"To BOLDLY go." Not to simply "Go." Go forth with the understanding that we may die, but also that cowering in fear won't help us live. We explore, in the hope that we can find better ways to live.

The very nature of evil is insidious. It is simply being so wrapped up in a fantasy that thoughtless actions occur, resulting in decay, and death. It is a result of defending that fantasy, regardless of the consequences. Evil cannot live. Evil cannot even exist without parasitising life. To live for long, we must eradicate evil within ourselves. It's as simple as that. Naturally, of course, the first step that evil took, was to turn the very word "evil" into a joke, confusing people about what it actually is. It's not comic-book villains. It's committed by average, normal people, like ourselves, every single day. But evil, stupid, thoughtless, deluded people, state that if we're "normal" we can't be evil.

Again, we must "Boldly" go forth to find strange new worlds, new LIFE, and civilizations--where no man has gone before. No man has succeeded in this enterprise. There are only those that have endured it, and learned from it. Can we?

Courage is not courage without fear of death. Death is a strange, alien concept that people refuse to seriously discuss, or even think about, or in any way try and act in the face of it. Most of us have no courage.

I have no courage. I have already failed too many times. Each day I am terrified, because I understand the risks. There is no heaven but that which we build here on this green Earth. There is no "other" place for us to go to. We disintegrate, we die, and we lose ALL hope of being able to change our fate or destiny. We don't get nothingness or peace. We fall to PIECES. Death is NOT an option I am willing to take. Decay, and Death, is what I fight.

And the only "God" that half the world claims to worship, is one which very clearly according to the actual writings, not what the various religions claim is in them, is forgiving of failure, but not of suicidal idiocy, or those who thoughtlessly cause suffering, which is done by most people, including myself. I can't consider myself a Christian, or a Jew, or Islamic, or a Buddhist, or a follower of Confucius, or any of those groups, because those groups mainly consist of the same morons that would thoughtlessly crucify or let others crucify someone who only helped people live, regardless of whether or not these "Jesus"--or "Moses" or "Confucius" or "Buddha" characters ever historically existed--because I can't know for certain that they did or didn't exist, as science doesn't provide certainty, but those sort of situations are very definitely something that would, and does happen, here, today. What those individuals (characters?) said, and did, definitely were things worth following.

I don't know where people got the idea that the "God" character in the Bible or Koran has infinite power, and knowledge. The most important, I can understand. The one from which all living beings have no power without, I can understand. The one which we are dead without, I can understand. But the actions of this "God" in the Testaments are emblematic of someone who had to use their brain because they have LIMITED power, and knowledge, and must use it sparingly, and WISELY, and thus is a very good example for us to follow as a spirit or as a human being. Not an omnipotent, omnicognisant being like Q, who is definitely not a good example to follow.

Don't even get me started on the people that I see every day. The people that thoughtlessly eat bad food, and drink, and do things which are guaranteed to cause more work for doctors, and nurses, and eventually result in death by stupidity for themselves and others. The people who manage properties, who think it's okay to lie to others about termite damage, and a rusted roof, and dry rot, and infestations, and lack of structural integrity, and cracked chimneys, and broken pipes, and poor foundations. The people who don't bother to maintain their own possessions--their body, their home, their car, and cause more problems for the engineers, and maintenance personnel who must do these things for them. The people who assume it's okay to steal from others--their identity, their information, their physical possessions, their very lives. The people who even refuse to allow or assist in providing others with the basic necessities of life--good food, good water, good shelter, good light, good air, and good foundations to work from. The people who aren't even bothered about finding these things for themselves, as they have far more important fantasies to break a leg or die for.
----

Sorry. Little frustrated. But again, courage is not courage without fear of death. Without fear, and understanding, and thinking about death, and decay, and how best to live long, and prosper, each second of every day, all the days of our lives, we will CAUSE death, and accelerate the decay, for ourselves, and others.

We live in an entropic universe. This is not an issue ANYONE can put aside for another day--it must be dealt with EVERY day.

We must BOLDLY go to seek out strange new LIFE. Otherwise, we ourselves cannot be certain of living. Awe and wonder may happen a result. But space, like many practical things, is mostly battling boredom, interspersed with moments of sheer terror. Don't do it for the excitement--you'll just end up dying, and getting those around you killed.

Star Trek is NOT a happy universe about looking for awe, and wonder. It was created by someone who was trying to show people that there is a better way, than what we do. Gene Roddenberry, like others, quite clearly viewed the 20th/21st century Western World, and "American businessmen" in the same way that the Ferengi were depicted. He saw the Ferengi as the most dangerous enemy in Star Trek, because chaos (freedom without fear or thought of the consequences), and money, and too much spurious knowledge, and fantasies about climbing the social ladder, are the most dangerous things to science, and life. Most Star Trek fans just laughed. Yet the Ferengi style of thinking is what has destroyed Star Trek--not the Borg, or the Klingons. The Federation could hold out against the Borg, and the Klingons. It fell to the Dominion, and the Ferengi, for one fostered an inability to trust, or seek understanding. The other fostered a love of money.

We must BOLDLY go forth, with courage. Not without fear of the consequences. Because if we do not, we decay, and die. Hope this makes sense. I know it's an uncomfortable subject. But we have to deal with what we have been given. We must decide what to do with the time given to us. Ignoring the problem, and pursuing feel-good consequence-free fantasies, is not the answer to that.
Astronut7
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 4:47am (UTC -5)
@OmicronDeltaThetaPhi
Deep Space Nine is one of my favourite series, for the characters, and drama--but not for science fiction. I don't know where people got the idea that TNG characters were perfect. They were a walking disaster, and weren't particularly well trained or good at their jobs. But unlike us, they tried to do better, and they had at least learned SOME things we haven't today. Picard was a profoundly thoughtful character, yes, but not perfect by any means. As for why I included Voyager in the mix, well...read my comment prior to this one. It was by no means a TNG clone. Nor did it remain true to its ideals. *Cough* Trapped in Delta Quadrant, with limited resources. *Cough.* TNG was all about how we remain true to UNIVERSAL Law, Truth, Science, Life, and Hope, in the far more difficult situation of nigh-unlimited resources. *Cough* Q. *Cough*

The Next Generation was supposed to be AFTER a series which had ALREADY SHOWN what the Federation was capable of doing with limited resources, and its ideals--in TOS, on the frontier. All other series are just retreading old ground (to varying levels of success) which has already been covered in TOS, with Kirk, Spock, Scotty, McCoy as lead characters--with a Captain, a Jewish lawyer/scientist, an Engineer, a Doctor, a Nurse [supposed to be Number One, before certain meddling happened], a Communications specialist, a Weapons Officer, and a Pilot.

Not moronic, suicidal fools pursuing money, and adventure, and ecstasy (religious or otherwise), and some self-important delusion about how interference without thought or due, careful consideration, is always a good thing. Key phrase, there: "without thought, or due, careful consideration." The Prime Directive does NOT read "No interference with lesser civilizations under any circumstances." Or at least, it DIDN'T read that. I'm not sure when it changed.

No. It's far more difficult to maintain the moral high ground when you have all the guns--such as money, media, nukes, population, economic resources, and actual guns. Countries such as the US of A [Pick an actual name for the country which isn't two continents or a pronoun, for crying out loud. Also if you want to be United, drop the plurality of "States"], Russian Federation [hacking, lying, murdering reporters], and People's Republic of China [Worker Drone's Republic?], are the ones which have the biggest problem in this area today, because they are the countries with the most resources to do or encourage evil. That's NOT to say that poor people can't be evil. Just that far more damage is done by the rich.

Wrote my previous reply before I had seen yours. Still relevant--this is just another addition to the comment which should be immediately prior to this one.

Again, we must BOLDLY go forth, with fear, and understanding of the consequences, to find STRANGE NEW LIFE, as well as worlds, and civilizations, lest we decay, and die. If we don't think about or discuss these things every day, regardless of how uncomfortable a topic they may be, we will decay, and die due to living in an entropic universe. If we uphold human laws, above the quest to find the universal truths--if we preserve our fantasies, at the expense of life, and truth, and hope--then we will decay, and die, and there will be no salvation for any of us. Because heaven is what we build here, and now, for ourselves, and those that come after us. Not some ethereal other place. Hope this makes sense.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 6:33am (UTC -5)
@ Astronut7,

"Captain Pike, and Captain Kirk (before Shatner took over the role), and Captain Picard (before the movies)--are clearly representative of Gene Roddenberry himself, if you know about Gene Roddenberry's early life."

Roddenberry had stated that Wesley was the stand-in for him on TNG. And what information do you have about Captain Kirk before Shatner got the role?


"LAW ZERO: Don't Die. Refusal to follow these laws causes decay over time, followed by total destruction.
LAW ONE: Think, and observe, and record, and act, with every fiber of your being, every second of every day, all the days of your life, about how not to EVER die (even though the probability of success in this endeavour is small, there may be some tiny hope, hope of enduring, and hope of being saved by those that endure).
LAW TWO: Find all resources, and all people, within your sphere of influence, in whatever form they may be in, that may be able to assist in this endeavour, and assist THEM also, if they share it, by protecting them AS you would yourself."

If your law zero is "don't die" then you've left Star Trek far behind. Starfleet people go in knowing they might die; you might even say they're signing up to die, but for the right cause. "Risk is our business."
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 7:42am (UTC -5)
@Astronut7

"What I was concerned about was not that you were so weak-willed that you would contemplate suicide simply because people didn't agree with you. I was VERY concerned about the fact that I have no idea what ELSE is going on in your life."

Nothing bad, I assure you. And even everything in my life sucked, classic Trek taught me a few things about hoping for the future. A person who really gets the message of Star Trek, is not a person that gives up that easily. :-)

You know, it's really funny how the people here inflated this whole thing into monstrous proportions and then blamed *me* for being a drama queen.

This gotta be another one of those "internet endemics" you've been talking about: The fact that it is virtually impossible to speak openly and candidly about your feelings in an online community, without being seen as some drama-seeking psycho. I've seen this happening on many forums, and it really *is* an endemic.

To summarize: The only reason it turned into a big drama, is that people insisted on treating it as drama. Talk about a pot calling the kettle black...

"I'll be damned if I make that mistake again. Sure, if I had written the letter, it probably wouldn't have made a difference, but it MAY have."

I'm so sorry for your loss. And you're right, your letter probably wouldn't have made a difference. At any rate, please don't blame yourself. You aren't doing either yourself or the future people you want to help any favors, by blaming yourself. Right?

Now, going back to the Star Trek topic:

"Star Trek is NOT a happy universe about looking for awe, and wonder. It was created by someone who was trying to show people that there is a better way, than what we do."

I think the two things you've just mentioned are just two different sides of the same coin.

Star Trek is basically saying "there's a better way, and in the future we'll find it. Here, let me show you...". How is this not happy? I can't think of a more optimistic thought than that.

Perhaps you meant that Star Trek isn't bubbly-naive-with-a-stupid-grin-on-your-face-at-all-times happy. But this kind of "happiness" is an illusion anyway.

Besides, as you said yourself: The awe and wonder are part of the package. Star Trek is about the entire package, which - among other things - includes awe and wonder.

Of-course, it *is* dangerous out there. As Q once said: "It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross, but it's not for the timid". I think this quote sums up both sides of the coin quite nicely.

"I don't know where people got the idea that TNG characters were perfect. They were a walking disaster, and weren't particularly well trained or good at their jobs. But unlike us, they tried to do better, and they had at least learned SOME things we haven't today."

And the characters of DS9/VOY/ENT didn't? Are you sure we've watched the same shows?

Actually, there are plenty of people in the real world who "try to do better" as well. If I'm not mistaken, you've just said that you're one of them. After all, isn't this precisely the reason that the behavior of the average person drives you nuts?

The big difference between the world of Star Trek and reality 2018, is that "trying to do better" is not the consensus today. We are a minority. And if you tried to tell people that you're dedicating your life to improving yourself, then they'll think you're either a liar or batshit crazy.

Yet there *are* people who do this today. And some of them chose this path precisely because of the example they've seen on the various Star Trek series.

"[Voyager] was by no means a TNG clone. Nor did it remain true to its ideals. *Cough* Trapped in Delta Quadrant, with limited resources."

Oh, I agree that *if* they actually followed this premise, then Voyager wouldn't have been a TNG clone.

But they didn't. Not really, anyhow. Voyager never looked like a ship with limited resources. Nor did they really follow the other major unique point of Voyager that seperates it from the TNG mentality: the Starfleet/Maquis conflict.

So the vast majority of Voyager episodes *were* pretty much "TNG in the Delta Quadrant". Makes little sense given the premise, I know, but that's what the writers chose to do with the show (and I think it hurt the show a great deal that they didn't stick to their original premise).

"It's far more difficult to maintain the moral high ground when you have all the guns--such as money, media, nukes, population, economic resources, and actual guns."

In today's world - yes. Because 21st century man is too driven to dominate and conquer others, which is completely insane.

But in the world of the Federation - no. It is quite obvious that by Picard's time, society had mostly matured beyond the need for such abuse of power. The Enterprise-D is armed to the teeth, yet it is *obvious* to everyone onboard that these weapons are only there for self-defense.

And in *that* situation, it is easier to remain moral when you have superior fire power. As long as you vastly outgun your opponents, you know that the only dangers come from your own inner demons. You know that as long as you refrain from doing something extremely stupid, you have nothing to worry about.

The Federation had this mindset for decades, and it worked really well for them... and then the Dominion came(*). Suddenly, the Federation found itself facing a truly existential threat. Suddenly, really tough decisions needed to be made (because that's the nature of war). And unfortunately, Starfleet was completely unprepared - mentally and morally - for such a situation. Things got ugly, real quick. In my own head-canon, the Federation learned from their mistakes after the war, resulting in a far more robust moral system in the 25th century.

(*) Technically this whole dynamic should have happened with the Borg as well. But the TNG writers didn't have the guts to see it through. There were hints at this direction (like the suggestion to destroy the Borg with the image virus in "I, Borg") but they never quite committed to the idea.

"Again, we must BOLDLY go forth, with fear, and understanding of the consequences, to find STRANGE NEW LIFE, as well as worlds, and civilizations, lest we decay, and die."

Well, yeah. But when you put it in such a depressing way, it doesn't feel compelling at all, does it? And if it isn't compelling, there's little hope that people would actually do it.

Thankfully, the universe has a solution ready: As you said yourself, going through this path naturally results in a wonderous feeling of awe. There are enough reasons to excite us into doing this, and that's not a bad thing... as long as we're also aware of the consequences, of-course.

This is one of the things I love about Star Trek, by the way. It manages to tell the very same message in an inspiring way that doesn't make you depressed or even scared. Yes, fulfilling our destiny as a species is serious business. Yes, it *is* dangerous out there. But it is also exhilirating, and I don't think we should feel any shame for actually enjoying the journey. Especially when being all gloomy is probably going to hurt our performance.

"Because heaven is what we build here, and now, for ourselves, and those that come after us. Not some ethereal other place."

Amen to that.

Chrome
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 8:51am (UTC -5)
@Astronut7

“a) Came from a Jewish family--and for me, Jewish culture has a strong reputation of upholding, discussing, and maintaining the law.
b) Travelled all over the world, and made his way as an INDEPENDENT producer, turning down, or dismissing options open to him which he considered as having a low probability of success.
c) Wrote industrial and documentary films for clients such as the United Nations, and the United States Information Agency.”

Being part of a race doesn’t make you automatically knowledgeable about a subject. My aunt and cousins are Jewish and none of them study law or even have any interest in legal dramas.

The thing that Roddenberry and Berman have in common isn’t their early life histories. You listed yourself the war and police experience Gene had while Rick has zero. Making documentaries for the UN, while interesting, is not equivalent to experiencing combat or patrolling a neighborhood for crime.

What you’re missing is that Roddenberry was a career writer. Even while serving in the Army Corps as a pilot he was submitting fiction stories to the NY Times and magazines. When he first saw television he became so interested in it that he gave up his short pilot career and moved to Hollywood to try get involved in making television. Roddenberry loved telling stories and that is what he has in common with Berman as well as Kurtzman.

Now can Kurtzman tell as good of a story as his predecessors? We might agree that it’s hit and miss with this episode being a big miss. There have been hits though like “Magic to Man Go Mad” and “Into the Forest I Go”. Can it get better? Sure, there’s a lot of room for improvement and that might involve some sincere retooling. But Roddenberry isn’t coming back and Berman has basically retired so we need to give others a shot.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 10:46am (UTC -5)
@Welcher
"So harsh I believe you retired from posting here, in a glorified farewell speech. Yet here you are."

And that's your sole contribution to this site. Astounding.

Look, I could write another five paragraphs on how moronic this response of yours was.

But I won't.

Because the people here don't seem to like it when I do that. For some funny odd reason, they prefer talking about Star Trek rather than participating in childish games of "gotcha!". It's almost like they think that this is a Star Trek discussion board or something... Can you imagine the nerve of these guys? ;-)
Jammer
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
I'm going to make this simple. Any further comments discussing past events involving a certain poster who left the board and has now returned -- and rehashing any of the events surrounding that person's departure -- will be deleted. This includes any comments referencing past events that are made by the person who left the board and returned.
Astronut7
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
Law Zero is don't die. I also emphasized that we have to be aware that we almost certainly will, and have to act in full knowledge of that, rather than trying to forget at every opportunity. We have to go forth boldly, and take some risks in the short term, because otherwise we will fail utterly in the long term. That's laws one, and two. Where have I left Star Trek behind?

Also, no. Look at "Where no man has gone before." Kirk was supposedly a studious type, that couldn't get a girl, according to his friend. How Kirk was written was very different to how Shatner eventually filled, and took over the role, and then the ego took over the show as well. When I said "took over" I did NOT mean that there was another actor playing Kirk...before J.J Abram's Trek, anyway.

---------------------
@OmicronDeltaThetaPhi
Ah...no. People who know me better have a habit of accusing me of blaming other people, rather than myself. What I do is look at all the factors that may have caused the situation, and figure out what each person could do better if something like this occurs again. That involves a lot of critical examination of other people ("blaming others") and also a lot of self-examination, and soul-searching. I was furious with myself at the time.

The emphasis is not "what I could have done better"--it is "how can I do better, AND what can other people do better for next time." Thanks for the support, though. Glad you're doing okay, too.

Right. How is Star Trek not happy? Well, the thing is, how do you react when someone else tells YOU that YOU need to CHANGE. You need to change the way you do things RIGHT NOW. BEFORE it's too late. You need to behave THIS way. Not the way you do. What YOU are doing is ALL wrong. [Just for an example]

My first reaction would be to say "Heck no! I don't need to change! I'm fine [At this point my brain kicks in, but others would continue] just the way I am! How dare YOU tell me that I need to change my behaviour? You hypocrite! You're no better than me. How dare YOU tell me this. You're not my boss. You don't pay me! Your opinion isn't better than mine, and you can't prove that I'm wrong. You have no respect for other people's opinions! [And so on, and so on, and so on. [Remember, this is an example.]

Now, one of the things I personally have to be careful with, and I've only figured it out relatively recently, is if I use the pronouns "I" and "You" the person listening to me (or reading my comments) tends to take it as a personal attack on them, because I have views very different from them, and I'm quite adamant about them, even though there are many occasions when I actually take what the person says to me, and change my opinion based on that--although one complaint I have had is that I do this so quickly, the person on the other end is completely confused.

If I use the pronoun "we" the person listening to me is less likely to feel personally attacked. Another word is "mostly." I use "mostly" a lot. But it's useless, because the people I'm talking to hear the word mostly, and then when I ask them to repeat what I've said, they think I've said "All."

So, when I said "we" in regards to "we don't do better" I'm not ignoring the fact that there are some few who DO try to do better AND understand how to do better today. However, it is psychologically, and physically dangerous for me to consider myself a person who is better than others. "We don't do better" might be depressing. But not if it's followed up by, "We should. Therefore to those who are prepared for it: we MUST do better. We CAN do better. We WILL do better."

Try getting alcoholics, or drug-addicts to recognize that, if they want to have a particular job (astronaut, for example) they can't drink, smoke, or imbibe any form of mind-altering or bodily damaging substances. Try getting people to stop having sex before marriage, because marriage is supposed to be a legal way of ensuring that whatever happens during pregnancy, or transmission of disease, or in raising the child, there is a contract, and responsibility by the father, the mother, and the child to look after each other, when no one else can or will [yes, I know marriage usually doesn't work out like this.]

Try getting people to actually CHANGE their behaviour, and see how they react. They don't act pleased. Star Trek tries that, but because it's fiction, people can focus on the drama, and not how what it's trying to preach is actually relevant to them, and how people must change.

--So no. Star Trek is not a happy show, because what people WANT is to be able to have the cool starships, and lasers, and adventure, but without having to CHANGE their behaviour. Won't work. Anyone who tries to pull the stupid stunts that the people of Discovery pulled, they would be dead in space in five minutes flat. Look at the Apollo program--the best of the best, and yet NASA had three astronauts dead in a fire that consumed Apollo 1 before even getting into space.




Here's a question for everyone: do you think astronauts who actually go into space today behave more like the people on Star Trek Discovery, or more like some OTHER Star Trek series? What kind of behaviour does an astronaut need to have, that regular people just don't have?




Again, I said earlier--the point of science, and this is particularly relevant in human space exploration is: NO DRAMA. NO CONFLICT. SPACE IS TOO DEADLY FOR THAT. That's why TOS had a crew that conducted itself with some military/police force hierarchy. That's why TNG had a crew with the "NO CONFLICT" rule given to the writers.

Heck, DS9 did SOMETHING right, in the character of Odo. The interplay between Odo, and Quark was fantastic, and relevant to Star Trek's message, particularly because Odo was in a role that required scientific thought--that of an investigator, and law enforcer, and Quark was a smug, sneaky little rat who was extremely dangerous, because he encouraged others to act like he did. I liked Quark as a character, but on a space station his general behaviour warranted him being tossed out of the airlock.

In fact, EVERYWHERE in the universe is too dangerous for the kinds of behaviour that human beings regularly exhibit. We're on a little garden of Eden in the wilderness, and we're throwing rubbish all over it when we don't have any other place to go. Nice going humanity. Way to ruin it for the rest of us.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Voyager started out with the same premise as DS9--limited resources, and a motley dysfunctional crew--but with a "clean slate" approach, with new aliens. It completely flunked the "NO CONFLICT" rule. Then it failed dismally at keeping that premise.

TNG was difficult to understand in the early seasons. Nor did it have the appropriate drama. Nor did it fully understand where Roddenberry was trying to take it. Heck, even Roddenberry didn't understand where he was taking it. I'm betting he was trying to figure it out when surrounded by people who didn't want experimentation; they wanted nice, safe, profitable drama.

For example: Jammer asked what the point of "The Naked Now" was. Why did it air second, showing the characters acting out of character, when we hadn't gotten to know them yet?

Because in the military, and police force, or possibly when pursuing a relationship, when you want to know about someone's innermost character quickly, rather than trying to find out when they're professional, you GET THEM DRUNK.

Heck, in the unaired pilot episode TOS "The Cage" Pike and crew were shown responding to a "tense" situation with professionalism, then afterwards the Doctor, and Captain, retired to the Captain's quarters, and the Doctor said that he needed to do a "medical examination" then decanted a bottle--because for medical health, a Captain's Doctor must know what's REALLY going on the Captain's head, and there's no way that can be done whilst the Captain is completely sober, trying to act professionally.

However, Jammer, an excellent reviewer of drama, completely failed to understand the military, police, medical, engineering or other high-stress professional culture, and actually had to ask why TNG aired the characters acting "out of character" as the second episode.


In TNG's early seasons, there are plenty of references, and logical deductions that the viewer is expected to make, as if the viewer were part of the scientific, law, medical, engineering, or other culture that used science, like farmers, plumbers, or builders. Not stupid American businessmen, or bureaucrats, or the average couch potato.

Voyager had NONE of those. It was by NO means a clone of TNG. Not to mention that Janeway was written almost schizophrenically. Voyager had the same problem that later seasons of TNG had--which were simply a more polished attempt at cloning TNG's rough, not-quite-comprehensible early two seasons.

Come on. Even the Borg were introduced in Season Two of TNG--before the writer's strike. Seasons One, and Two of TNG were a goldmine of ideas, that Voyager, and latter seasons of TNG plundered. Remember "Conspiracy" TNG actually HAD the balls to show what would happen if the Dominion showed up--it was so ballsy that the head-explosion scene had to be censored.

As I said before in a previous comment. Season One and Two of TOS had the ideas, and established the message of Star Trek. So did Season One and Two of TNG. All the other series either tried to subvert that message, head back to the nice safe, profitable drama, or simply rehashed, and polished up what had been done in those seasons.

Voyager TRIED to be a clone of TNG. But it was a copy of a copy, and it degraded badly. DS9 tried to subvert TNG, and it didn't actually work.

TNG is the series, along with TOS, with the incomprehensible, strange new worlds, inclusive of the balls to shoot that nasty alien in the head with so much firepower that it exploded in [it actually had to be censored] gore.
------------------------------

As for what happens when something is too powerful for them? Picard answered that in "Encounter at Farpoint."

Starfleet would run. It would save as many as it could, but it would run. Then if it couldn't have diplomacy, or flight, or battling it out was suicide: IT WOULD SURRENDER, and beg for mercy, using wisdom, and patience to find any way, any way at all, in which they could protect what had to be protected.

Picard answered that again, and again, and again. Kirk did it too. If he couldn't succeed in diplomacy, he would fight so that they could run, NOT to win. He would run, putting his life on the line to save the civilians. Then on his knees he would beg for the lives of his crew.

When the odds were too great, Picard ran. He bluffed. He begged. He cajoled. He persuaded. He argued. He pleaded. He surrendered. All that in the very first episode of TNG, because Q was TOO POWERFUL for the Enterprise.

So. What are you talking about? TNG already had the balls to answer the question that Deep Space Nine tried to answer. It did so in the very first episode, and again across the first two seasons. Which is why I got rather perplexed when the movies changed Picard's character so much. Because after all that happened in the very first half-hour of TNG, Picard shrugged it off, and told his newly arrived first officer Riker that "We had a little adventure on our way here."

Picard, and the Enterprise, were prepared--prepared to face the universe with completely inadequate firepower. Picard tried to say that they were nothing special. This is how humanity behaves in the 24th century.

In order to tell a dramatic story, Deep Space Nine (and many times in TNG) the writers had to completely retcon that premise.

I'm not saying that Deep Space Nine was a bad show, or that I didn't enjoy it (I did). But it was a dramatic series. In order to be a dramatic series, it had to completely undermine the premise of how humans were supposed to be behaving in the 24th century.

Voyager practically ALWAYS had overwhelming firepower, compared to what was in the Delta Quadrant. I can't remember any situation in which they actually talked their way out, instead of trying to shoot or technobabble their way out, and show how superior they were in THAT way. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong. It's been a while since I watched it, and there were very few stand-out episodes that I recall.

Oh, that's right. The alien warp-twisting thing. They tried everything, then surrendered to the inevitable. Ooh. The back-up Doctor episode, in which the historians were convinced that Voyager was a warship with far more guns than it actually had. Seven of Nine was an...interesting character. The warp factor 10 lizard baby episode...ugh. The "Counterpoint" episode, which was great.

Oh good grief. Looking at the list of episodes. Spatial Anomaly. Temporal Anomaly. Holodeck episode. Spatial Anomaly. Temporal Anomaly. Holodeck episode. NOW I remember why I thought Voyager was bland. It had a FORMULA. TNG had coming of age stories, law stories, medical stories, engineering stories, what it means to be human stories, learning, learning, learning, and ALSO temporal, spatial or holodeck anomaly episodes. Voyager had drama, technobabble, technobabble, lasers, technobabble, technobabble, oh look, sexy lady, technobabble, oh well, time to end it with Janeway from the future and lasers!

Voyager was fun, but bland.

------------

"Again, we must BOLDLY go forth, with fear, and understanding of the consequences, to find STRANGE NEW LIFE, as well as worlds, and civilizations, lest we decay, and die."

As for me putting the above in such a depressing way--if people can't follow this advice when it sounds depressing, they have no chance at all of being able to follow this instruction when bored, or when things get tough. Go into space for adventure, and excitement--go into the military, or the police force, or the medical profession, or engineering, or any practical field where lives are on the line with the attitude that it's for the feelings it gives, and people that can't hack it will die, or get those around them killed, or both.

Now, I can honestly say that I wouldn't be able to make it in space. No chance. That's why I'm "Astronut7" not "Astronaut7." I can barely make it here, in this Eden. So yes, I AM out to ruin people's fun. Thoughtless fun gets people killed, or otherwise accelerates the decay. Have fun AFTER the thinking. We can do far, far better than what we are currently doing, but not if people persist in behaving the way they do now.

No, I don't think we should have any shame in enjoying the journey. We should absolutely enjoy the journey. But what most people don't seem to realize is that joy is NOT happiness. Happiness is short-term. Joy is long-term. Short-term planners can't have joy. Sorry. Not for you. Joy is a long-term planner's reward only--those who plan for the future with a specific mindset--a practically minded scientific one. No short-term self-destructive prats allowed.

Yes, I am being very smug right now. I get to ruin a certain type of person's stupid fun, and I am completely justified in doing so. You can tell why I like Odo so much.
---------------------------------------------------------

@Chrome
Yes...understood. My family is also quite diverse, including an uncle that's Islamic on Fridays, Jewish on Saturdays, and Christian on Sundays, so he can get time off on all three days.

I'm not kidding about my Uncle. He's actually tried that whilst overseas. However, it can be safely assumed, that when the all-pervasive Wiki mentions a Jewish family without saying "secular", it probably meant that certain customs, traditions, and laws prominently featured. Whether Rick Berman accepted them, or rejected them, or ignored them I don't know. But he PROBABLY experienced them. I already thought I made it clear that this was guesswork.

Rick Berman was executive producer of shows such as MacGyver, and Space (about the space program). He was involved with such projects such as the Primal Mind, and the Emmy-Award winning children's series Big Blue Marble. He made documentaries and industrial films. I already stated that he had no where near the experiences of Roddenberry, but he definitely had some contact with scientific thinking, and had some glimpse of the background of Roddenberry, or those like him, so he had a smidgen of understanding that Discovery lacks.

That's just after a couple of minutes of research.

I'm all for giving other people a go. But I'm stating, if people want Star Trek, and not...whatever Discovery is...something pretty to watch whilst the brain is switched off, for those who have a high tolerance of poorly thought-out Klingon culture.

I like some of Discovery. I like the opening sequence. I like the production value. I liked Captain Georgiu. I liked Captain Lorca. I liked Saru. But every time Discovery does something even remotely right in terms of characters or plot, or in values being taught, I had to wade through mountains of sewage.

Kill Harry Mudd! What is wrong with you! You're supposed to be the dark, morally ambiguous Captain! Don't leave him to suffer, don't pander to the pseudo-moral high ground prats. Kill him! Oh, right. He's evil alternate-universe one. Therefore stupid. Plus the timeline wouldn't allow it.

Oh NOOOOO! Not the alternate universe AGAIN. That's the big-reset button, type three. The one where literally nothing matters, anything goes, and the writers can have all the drama they want without having it mean anything, or any lessons being learned along the way.

Not to mention the Spore Drive itself, and anything involving it.

Again, and again, I'll keep saying this, until something sticks:

Discovery fell right at the starting line, when it disobeyed the Prime Directive for no other reason than because they could. No forethought. Very little planning. Just cocky, I-know-something-you-don't smugness. They also saved the aliens in the worst way possible--failing to teach them how to prevent the disaster the NEXT time around, leaving them to depend on mysterious saviours when NEXT time, there wouldn't be anyone just happening to wander by. It failed to recover from that first misstep, even though it rose to the stellar heights of "A somewhat enjoyable eye-pleasing show. I've seen better."

To reiterate, and repeat, until something gets through: we must BOLDLY go forth, with fear, and understanding of the consequences, to find STRANGE NEW LIFE, as well as worlds, and civilizations, lest we decay, and die. If we don't think about or discuss these things every day, regardless of how uncomfortable a topic they may be, we will decay, and die due to living in an entropic universe. If we uphold human laws, above the quest to find the universal truths--if we preserve our fantasies, at the expense of life, and truth, and hope--then we will decay, and die, and there will be no salvation for any of us. Because heaven is what we build here, and now, for ourselves, and those that come after us. Not some ethereal other place. We do not do this for short-term happiness, or because we feel we're "better." We do this because we must, through many trials, and much loss, and we take joy in it--not as our due, but as a welcome, unexpected reward for a job well-done.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Thank you, Jammer. Sorry that you had to mod with a more heavy hand than usual on this issue.
Chrome
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
@Astronut7

"Kill Harry Mudd! What is wrong with you! You're supposed to be the dark, morally ambiguous Captain! Don't leave him to suffer, don't pander to the pseudo-moral high ground prats. Kill him! Oh, right. He's evil alternate-universe one. Therefore stupid. Plus the timeline wouldn't allow it."

I think this is one of the things Discovery got right. The episode was supposed to be light-hearted and killing Mudd would've made the ending much more grim than necessary. If we truly want Discovery to solve problems in a manner akin to Roddenberry's philosophy, we should applaud the writers for having the crew come up with a humane way of punishing Mudd while fixing their problem.

"Wiki mentions a Jewish family without saying "secular", it probably meant that certain customs, traditions, and laws prominently featured. Whether Rick Berman accepted them, or rejected them, or ignored them I don't know. But he PROBABLY experienced them. I already thought I made it clear that this was guesswork."

Right, you're guessing, but when you can't demonstrate any tangible way your guess is correct, let alone impacts Star Trek, it sounds more like reaching.
Astronut7
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
That was a heavy hand? In the last couple of days I've been explaining to a Microsoft affiliate that their website didn't have their Terms and Conditions, copyright, or other legal paperwork sorted out, and that losing or deleting records of personal intellectual property on a user's personal profile is not legal, and their terms, and conditions didn't actually cover that, whilst the moderator was shutting down my ability to do so, and lying about what they had done. They've now revised their Terms and Conditions, and stopped hindering my efforts to communicate with them. Jammer, on the other hand, HAS got everything organized, which doesn't say much for the affiliate in question.

All I can say is that if that's an example of Jammer taking a heavy hand, then Jammer has managed to foster a community that is very respectful of him.

Star Trek covers a lot of ground that is alien or not desirable to us in the 21st century. For example, TNG's first episode made it quite clear that personal privacy was not something that Starfleet particularly valued, with the holodeck, and the computer tracking everyone--and anyone's details could be accessed, for various reasons, including certain holodeck fantasies. However, personal space to think was valued.

Nor were there such things as copyright, there being no monetization of such. Information was offered freely, and not destroyed, or hidden, except when lives were on the line. People sat down to talk about their problems, because that was what was needed.

However, there was such a thing as Copy Right--as if things are not copied correctly, mishaps occur. This is a universal law. This is also something we find in human law, even when people have waived their financial rights to the thoughts they have created. Furthermore, deleting records of anything is not something that any scientific, legal, or investigative process would do, because the future cannot be predicted, and it is not known when something that got deleted may be useful as valuable evidence later on.

Therefore, whilst moderators are quite confident, and often correct in their rights today, I'm curious, would Star Trek have things like moderators, which have the power to delete or hide information, in circumstances nowhere near as serious as the one Data was in, in the TNG episode "Clues"?

Sorry Jammer. I hope that I can continue the discussion, where appropriate, with OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, and Peter G, and Chrome, and other members of this community, about Star Trek, and Star Trek values. Because I think that what people like Roddenberry tried to teach is a) simple, b) relevant to our lives, and c) not something that should be avoided.

If Roddenberry tried to teach values like Science, and Law Enforcement, and the value of Life, and seeking understanding, then there is no discussion or topic or place whatsoever that Star Trek's message does not touch. If these things were NOT taught in Star Trek--if Star Trek does NOT try to teach us values like these, then I can only conclude that Star Trek is a hollow fantasy not worth anyone's time.

I don't know. But I suspect what Roddenberry tried to do was the former, and what Discovery does is the latter. Hopefully I have not caused offence.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
@ Astronut7,

"I'm not kidding about my Uncle. He's actually tried that whilst overseas. However, it can be safely assumed, that when the all-pervasive Wiki mentions a Jewish family without saying "secular", it probably meant that certain customs, traditions, and laws prominently featured. Whether Rick Berman accepted them, or rejected them, or ignored them I don't know. But he PROBABLY experienced them. I already thought I made it clear that this was guesswork."

It's not out of the question that someone who grew up in a Jewish NYC family was raised in a conservative, even religious setting. Sure, it's possible. Does that mean Rick Berman did? Your conclusion that he "probably" has a "background in law" because of his Jewish background is something beyond 'reaching', as Chrome put it. I won't say that it is, but it is actually that thing. Rather than address your other various points (and I applaud your energy and dedication to the argument) you may want to consider seriously the level of care and attention you're giving to each point in the span of your argument. A foundation built on premises such as "If someone is Jewish they probably know about law" needs to be re-examined before putting even a single stone on top of it.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
"All I can say is that if that's an example of Jammer taking a heavy hand, then Jammer has managed to foster a community that is very respectful of him."

He has :)
Astronut7
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome
Sorry, but theory is not tangible. What my rather simple theory does is make a few predictions. Should those predictions be accurate, then my theory may be more correct than what has gone before. Should they be falsified, then I will have to change my theory, not the facts.

You are not demonstrating to me that Rick Berman definitely had insufficient contact with the fields of law or practical science or the importance of life for Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman to find common ground. Nor are you demonstrating that the creators of Discovery had any experience at all in these areas. Nor are you explaining how Rick Berman and Gene Roddenberry could both write Star Trek, whereas the Discovery team cannot.

My theory is quite falsifiable. I also am aware of alternatives. Now how about you provide your theories, hmm?

Now, as for Harry Mudd. He was left to die because Captain Lorca was sadistic, and wanted revenge. He was too dangerous to take with them, so the practical military option would have been a mercy kill. Leaving him behind was far darker than leaving him dead. Harry Mudd is also a proven murderer, on multiple counts, showing no awareness or remorse or real repentance for what he had done.

Later, in TOS, he took up the sex trade. Basically Discovery teaches us that it's okay to let unrepentant mass-murderers, liars, thieves, and morally bankrupt individuals walk free, regardless of the consequences to anyone else. How's that for dark?
Chrome
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
@Astronut7

I'm not making any conclusions based on "law" and its relationship to Star Trek, so the burden of proof isn't mine. I've given my thoughts on the similarities and differences of the producers, and that's about as much as I can do.
Astronut7
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G, @Chrome.
Already examined, and considered. What is Jewish culture without the law of the Torah? Not much, I'm afraid, merely random window dressing. Same kind of thing with a Catholic, or Islam.
Now, I'm not saying that they would know about the laws of the country they were in (in this case, the US of A). But Jewish culture is built on law, with a long history of it. It would me remiss of me not to consider that Rick Berman would have been affected by it, particularly...ooh. From 1945 onwards, when he was born.

I do not find it credible that such a man would not have been affected by the Jewish upbringing, particularly when, and where he was raised. Unless perhaps, your relatives are of the same age, from the same area?

I can't say much for what many Jews of today are like I suspect that for many, the meaning of "Jewish" is the same as "Christian"--not much, if anything. But Rick Berman is 72. Gene Roddenberry was born in 1921.

Sorry, but this is a case where personal experience of "No, I know people of group X who aren't like that TODAY" doesn't mean a lot. It is definitely quite possible that Rick Berman was not affected in any way by Jewish culture, or of the time he grew up in, and wasn't told or ever seriously discussed what is called the COMMANDMENTS. I do, however, consider it unlikely. Therefore I must go on the limited information I have.

Furthermore, my core argument is quite solid. You are focusing on an ancillary point at best. All that would need to be emphasized instead, was that regardless of my attempt to show there may be some background where the two could find common ground, Star Trek Nemesis was utter crap, and Rick Berman let that happen, along with the other TNG movies. I was only attempting to find common ground in order to fully consider YOUR argument that Rick Berman could actually produce Star Trek without missing the message entirely.

Be very careful about what you think MY argument is based on. I can turn on a dime, if my argument falls apart. You don't seem to be able to.
Astronut7
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Although I must hasten to add. Turning on a dime in an internet discussion with my fingers frozen as they are now, would not be beneficial to anybody. Ouch. I'm going to warm up, and get some rest. Way different time zones.
The trouble is Peter G, and Chrome, is that I'm not sure you have the background to see what I'm getting at. And if you can't see what I'm getting at, I don't think you can fully understand what a war veteran, or those who wage war against decay each, and every day, would try to explain had they the opportunity to create a show like Star Trek. I'm pretty sure I only have an inkling of what Roddenberry went through. It may be enough. It may not.

Whatever Roddenberry tried to communicate though, because of what he experienced, not many people are going to get the message. Rick Berman MAY have had some idea, due to his life. Then again, he may not have.

It is possible that, due to my experiences, I may understand some of what Roddenberry was trying to talk about. Trying to communicate with people about it who DON'T have certain experiences, or certain lines of thought...

Well, I already know that people here think Discovery can be salvaged. Sure it can. Get a war veteran in--or people in the practical sciences, with a background in criminal law. Get the FBI to write it. :P Otherwise, no. No chance.

Frozen fingers. Eyesight failing. Gotta go.
Chrome
Mon, Jun 4, 2018, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
"I don't think you can fully understand what a war veteran, or those who wage war against decay each, and every day, would try to explain had they the opportunity to create a show like Star Trek."

I get what you're saying, that Roddenberry has an informed perspective on the military and that helped him create Star Trek. Nevertheless, there were plenty of writers for TOS, TNG, DS9 and beyond that didn't have any military training and wrote some spectacular episodes. Maybe it took a Roddenberry to create Star Trek, but once the universe was established, it opened the door for other writers of different and diverse backgrounds from Roddenberry to tell their own engaging stories.
Astronut7
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 1:51am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
Absolutely. I completely agree with your viewpoint that writers of diverse talent, and backgrounds, and points of view, should have a go at writing Star Trek. Star Trek also deals with being understanding of other people's opinions.

My issue is that with someone at the HELM of Star Trek should have a personally diverse background, involving veteran's experience in war, medical experience (saving lives), law enforcement (policing), and/or practical science--or at the very least, needs to closely heed the advice of people who have such experience, and/or ways of thinking.

I mean, if memory serves, the writers of Voyager tried to get a consultant for Native American culture, to base the Marquis culture on, who later turned out to be a fraud--and it SHOWED in the episodes. Where was the leadership, there? Instead of promoting cultural diversity, therefore, Voyager turned out to be promoting cultural stereotypes, acquiescing to Star Fleet protocols, and Western world values, regardless of how inane, stupid, or dangerous, those protocols or values actually were--suppressing investigative thought, or examination of diverse cultures in the process.

Gene Roddenberry HAD that experience, which is why concepts in early episodes of TOS, and TNG could be quite difficult to understand, or there sometimes seemed to be certain 'gaps' in explanations, or sometimes what was done or talked about did not make sense to the viewer. This is ignoring the increased difficulty in comprehension resulting from poor writing, actors not comfortable in their roles, and cheap effects, now dated. Not to mention the real clunkers.

So, honestly, get someone from the FBI, or from a law enforcement agency with plenty of practical, scientific, medical, engineering, or other investigative experience to helm Star Trek. Maybe such an individual or organization ought to write a few episodes, to teach Americans about certain values such as 'fidelity, bravery, and integrity'.

Because what Star Trek Discovery LACKS is those things. What it has in spades is stupid, reckless, ignorant, irresponsible behaviour, and this is the kind of thing that Star Trek should not be promoting. People get confused about what Star Trek is about--one of the most common issues is people assuming Star Trek is a military organization. It isn't--or wasn't, prior to Deep Space Nine, and the TNG movies. If I were to describe Star Trek in a way that people from the U.S of A could possibly understand, I'd say it was 'The Federal Bureau of Investigations in SPACE--protecting, investigating, and resolving disputes of the United Federation of Planets, in the final frontier.'

This is also why the interactions of Odo, and Quark, are DEFINITELY Star Trek, even though Deep Space Nine didn't apply the 'no conflict' rule, that astronauts have to follow in space, or those in any potentially deadly field of work. I cannot emphasize this point enough--Discovery's team does not have war veteran's experience, scientific experience, engineering experience, medical experience, diplomatic experience, or other investigative experience--or if they do, they are not applying it. They only seem to have experience in business, profits, and drama. Get the FBI in--at least on the advisory team. I wish I was joking.
Scott Eltringham
Sun, Jun 10, 2018, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Reading all these very knowledgeable Star Trek fans comments,I think this series should be stopped now! No second series. I agree that this story is a mess. The federation are not acting like our federation we have known and loved for 40 years. The Klingons are not the Klingons we hate/love/respect. (no way would they have walked away from destroying the federation if they were that close to achieving that at time of war) The liberties these writers have made running rough shod over star trek history is un-forgivable. It's reminding me how I felt after the last episode of Lost....betrayed. Time wasted. Dont mess with the star trek universe any more. Stop!
Scotch Eltringham
Sun, Jun 10, 2018, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Reading all these very knowledgeable Star Trek fans comments,I think this series should be renewed now! No two year wait. I agree that this story is amazing. The federation are not acting like our federation we have known and loved for 40 years. The Klingons are not the Klingons we hate/love/respect. (no way would they have walked away from destroying the federation if they were that close to achieving that at time of war) The liberties these writers have made are a refreshing shakeup over star trek history. It's reminding me how I felt after the last episode of DS9....engaged. Time well invested. Don't keep us waiting any more. Go!
Dom
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 8:28am (UTC -5)
I agree with @Astronut7 in the sense that it's helpful to get writers who have experience outside the writing room. At the very least, hire writers who have read something about history, sociology, or tech. I think the show could use people who have had a dose or two of reality. Discovery as it stands seems like the product of people who have never stepped out of a writers room and only know how to create heightened character drama. There's no sense of verisimilitudeness when it comes to the military campaigns, world-building, or technology in the show.
Chrome
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 9:44am (UTC -5)
@Dom

"At the very least, hire writers who have read something about history, sociology, or tech. I think the show could use people who have had a dose or two of reality."

Fair enough, I don't see how that would hurt the show. Though, I think the problem with Discovery is more fundamental than adding on a NASA scientist or military veteran to fix the details. Take this episode, for example, which ends with Michael being vindicated by her peaceful actions and then honored by Starfleet. The thing is, acts I, II, III, and IV don't have anything to do with that final act. We're basically led through some Sci-Fi non-sequiturs for half the episode in order to cover up the fact that the ending wasn't fleshed out.

As I said above, Gene was first and foremost a good writer in addition to his military background. No good writer would've let this episode come to pass without some major editing. For some reason, whether it's a rushed production schedule or too many cooks in the kitchen (it's certainly not budget), the basic creative step of a coherent script is not being handled well.
Dom
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Or, it could just be that the writers room was apparently such a mess that the show runners got fired.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/star-trek-discovery-has-suddenly-changed-showrunners-a-1826848946
NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 10:41am (UTC -5)
So a couple of STD show runners got canned:

http://www.vulture.com/2018/06/star-trek-fires-showrunners-after-complaints-of-verbal-abuse.html

Thoughts?

I hope this means we get actual good writing in season 2.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Wow, that is big news. Here's a quote from the article:

"Showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts are out, and executive producer Alex Kurtzman will step in. Kurtzman will also run the show’s writers’ room."

The problem with any creative project (also true of business in general) usually begins at the top. The show has had the air of a Kurtzman show from the word go, so the fact of losing two showrunners does seem like it was obvious there was a problem, but Kurtzman himself stepping in likely won't fix it if he is the actual problem. Time will tell.
Dom
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 11:28am (UTC -5)
This is Kurtzman of Star Trek Into Darkness and Transformers fame. I'm not expecting much of an improvement over Season 1. Best case scenario is he's a placeholder until they find a competent showrunner.

Still, I do have to wonder how much Berg and Harberts were responsible for the problems in Season 1. It obviously wasn't the rosy situation the writers portrayed on After Trek.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom,

"Still, I do have to wonder how much Berg and Harberts were responsible for the problems in Season 1. It obviously wasn't the rosy situation the writers portrayed on After Trek."

I have to admit that I'd have been tempted to yell at the writers too. We don't know whether it was the case that the writers were out of line and the showrunners were fuming about it, or the showrunners were out of line and harmed the efficiency of the writing team as a consequence. Or maybe the writing is exactly what Kurtzman wanted and the showrunners were upset about it, and it was finally determined that they weren't a good fit.

This could amount to anything ranging from status quo, to an improvement, to a doubling down on the problems with the show.
Baron Samedi
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
I'll add to concerns expressed above that there's nothing to celebrate in bringing in
Kurtzman. Discovery's writing has been a mess so far (even though i enjoyed the first season a bit more than most here) and bringing in the guy from Into Darkness and The Mummy (2017) isn't going to help. Kurtzman is a guy who works well within the big money prime time network/big studio system despite a thoroughly mediocre output (Star Trek '09 is probably the best thing he's helped write), so I'm not surprised he got elevated, given that Discovery plays so much more like a transparent cash-in on an established franchise rather than a real attempt to recapture the Trek spirit or to make any kind of a genuine commentary. Kurtzman seems like he's talented at navigating rewrite requests and following commands from executives managing millions of dollars of investments, and that's what CBS wants so that's what we're stuck with.
Cosmic
Sat, Jun 16, 2018, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
@Dom
"Or, it could just be that the writers room was apparently such a mess that the show runners got fired."

Jeez. Reminds me of all the nasty stuff that went on in the TOS and TNG writing rooms. This seems to happen on almost all of the Trek shows - verbal abuse, infighting, showrunners quitting/getting sacked, etc. I'm not excusing their behavior, just pointing out that it unfortunately seems to be very common for a Trek show.

Now I'm not super enthused about Kurtzman taking over, but Akiva Goldsman's departure should be an actual plus for the show. I kept feeling like there were way too many cooks in the kitchen during Season 1, so this news about a staff restructure strikes me as a good thing.
Peter G.
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Looks like Kutzman intends to go full nuclear with the reigns to Trek:

http://nationalpost.com/entertainment/television/patrick-stewart-will-boldly-go-where-no-one-else-has-gone-before-and-reprise-his-captain-jean-luc-picard-role?

From the article:

"It looks like Patrick Stewart could be returning to television as the character his fans would most like to see make a comeback: Star Trek‘s Jean-Luc Picard.
[...]
Stewart would lead a potential series reboot of Next Generation.[/quote]

Just what I needed...a reboot of TNG written by the crack team behind Discovery and ST: Beyond. I never thought I'd see the day when I'm cringing at the thought of all the cashing in on the franchise that's about to happen. Who said there was no money in the Federation?

Chrome
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Wow! That’s big news for Trek. Though a reboot doesn’t really make sense with Stewart, especially considering his age. Why wouldn’t they just have him play an admiral in a post-TNG show?

At least Stewart knows how to teach other actors and could help shape the cast for the new show like he did with TNG.

Jammer - can you make another comment section for this new series as it doesn’t really seem Discovery related besides the producer being the same?
Peter G.
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"At least Stewart knows how to teach other actors and could help shape the cast for the new show like he did with TNG."

Although Stewart has since been told that his acting elevating TNG to another level, we can also draw a conclusion in the opposite direction from hearing interviews from his cast mates. According to them he was a stick in the mud when the series began and it took them a while to 'train him' and bring him around to having fun with the rest of them. The fun can definitely be seen on screen starting maybe sometime in S2 or perhaps in S3. All in all I think that the credit for the show's environment can be spread all around despite having a strong lead.
Peter G.
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
In line with what Chrome suggested, instead of a thread for a series that may never exist maybe there should be a meta discussion thread about Trek in general. That would probably be the best place for series comparisons, commentary about the direction Trek is headed, potential future franchise projects, and things like that. I've felt a little guilty posting all sorts of things in a thread that's supposed to be about one episode in one series, even though it seemed like the best place for it at the time.
Chrome
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I’ve read interviews from Spiner and Sirtis saying they really learned a lot about acting by listening about and watching Stewart’s professionalism on the set. And frankly, after seeing what’s happened with VOY - DIS, maybe the franchise needs a “stick in the mud” to keep things together.
Peter G.
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

I don't doubt it. What was beautiful about TNG was they seemed to learn a lot from each other. There seems almost to have been an arc between Stewart and the cast that mirrors what was written into the show between Picard and the crew. At first private and hesitant, but slowly warming to them in an interpersonal way.

I also never stopped to think that Picard's lessons to Data were a reflection of what was literally happening behind the scenes.

"Good, Brent, good!"
"Patrick that's not the line."
"Err...Good, Data, good!"
Dom
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 9:08am (UTC -5)
@Peter, you're not alone in cringing at the milking of this franchise. As with Star Wars, I get especially worried when I see them announcing so many projects. Rather than flood the market with new stuff, why not take one TV show or movie and do it really well? These franchises aren't going to become pop culture phenomena with lifelong fans if they just pump out low-quality products on an assembly line.
Chrome
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@Dom

“Rather than flood the market with new stuff, why not take one TV show or movie and do it really well?”

You’re assuming they’re capable of doing that. ;-)

But I think it has to do with network TV viewership being much more diluted than it was during other Treks. You can’t count on people tuning into CBS for football and catching Star Trek by chance anymore. People are watching what they want on demand, so the networks attempt to fill every genre niche (i.e. classics, reboots, and children’s animated series) to fit those demands.

The Orville actually resembles more closely what I’d consider a standard model network show. But I think the problem is it’s trying very hard to please a nostalgic TNG fanbase without really coming up with its own unique program.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Everyone's trying to copy the MCU now so it doesn't surprise me that they're trying it with Trek.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Although, to be fair, Trek had built a shared universe before Marvel made it cool :)
JC
Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
It was a weird episode. Plot didn't make sense. Did they really need to pretend she wasn't an evil ex- emperor and make her captain? No they didn't. The Tyler/Voq thing- why? -who knows? And just like that the Klingons give in without question? And then the Enterprise appears! I can only assume they're getting desperate because really Discovery needs to find it's own feet and leave TOS well alone. However, I did like the Enterprise look . And Captain Saru- yes!!
John Harmon
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 3:10am (UTC -5)
I keep checking the sure every few days hoping Jammer will have begun his limited review project. I can't wait to find out what it is
wolfstar
Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 4:58am (UTC -5)
I hope it's infomercials. Or Black Mirror.
NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Jul 20, 2018, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
New STD Season 2 trailer out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDIlBDRkPDI

Jammer, we might need a separate discussion forum for this, letting you know in advance. ;)

My initial thoughts: Looks like a huge improvement over last season at first glance, but there's also a lot of room for them to screw things up. Hard to tell based on a trailer but it *feels* more Star Trek-y than season 1, although with some JJ Abrams-esque humor mixed in (and make of that what you will). But the fact that there's actual humor in the trailer is a good start in my eyes.

I'm actually tempted to give season 2 a chance based on this, which is saying a lot given that I bailed on STD after the first ep.
Chrome
Fri, Jul 20, 2018, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Ah, more action-movie Trek. Pike as captain looks like it could be interesting, though.
John
Sat, Jul 21, 2018, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Pike looks like an even bigger ass than Lorca. I don't see anything in this trailer to indicate an improvement in the series. They're pandering to the old school fans with the mention of Spock, colored uniforms and goofy humor, but so what?
Sidney
Sun, Jul 22, 2018, 11:28am (UTC -5)
I stopped watching after "Despite Yourself" and finished the season by reading your reviews. This series is visually stunning, made some bold changes not only in look and style but tone. Gave us an interesting Captain (Lorca) and an intriguing central character (Burnham). But there were so many moments of inexplicable behavior and obvious reveals I didn't see the point. I hope season 2 fares better.

And if PU Lorca is out there, or maybe a Lorca from another universe who needs a change in scenery - get him!
Charles Liddle
Sun, Jul 22, 2018, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
If the trailer I've seen for Season 2 is accurate, it sounds like the writers are going down the wrong road. I refer to what Christopher Pike's reason for meeting up with Discovery is. One thing: the actor playing Pike (Anson Mount) does resemble Jeffery Hunter.
Mertov
Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Some humor is always welcome including the Abrams-esque one as far as I'm concerned.

I hope though, this trailer only points to the first couple of episodes or so. I would prefer that Discovery does its own world-building (such as developing the bridge crew's characters, encountering previously unheard aliens, etc) rather than using the one from the others for most of the season. I don't want Pike to hang aroind too long for example.
Jammer
Sat, Aug 4, 2018, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
What??

https://deadline.com/2018/08/patrick-stewart-star-new-star-trek-series-jean-luc-picard-cbs-all-access-1
Bufo
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 12:48am (UTC -5)
Yeah I just saw that story. If its true, I'm hoping it means the makers of STD got the message that STD was crap, half because it was just crap written by idiots, and half because the act of making STD threw away far superior opportunities to tell the ST story FORWARD instead of fucking backward. Forward from all the great stuff contained within existing canon.
Dave in MN
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 8:30am (UTC -5)
I'm overjoyed.... finally something other than as prequel!!!!
NCC-1701-Z
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
Just came here to post this.

MAKE IT SO!!!!!
Bufo
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Then I found out that this news isn't that new, and apparently Kurtzman's name is all over it, so yeah, it'll be that bad :(

http://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/star-trek/274332/star-trek-the-next-generation-reboot-with-patrick-stewart-reportedly-in-development
Dick
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN: "I'm overjoyed.... finally something other than as prequel!!!!"

Don't be so sure. After all, they brought Leonard Nimoy back as Spock but sent him back in time to appear in a prequel movie. No reason why they wouldn't do the same with Picard given STD's total disregard for continuity.
Darren
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 9:21am (UTC -5)
@ Dick:

"Don't be so sure. After all, they brought Leonard Nimoy back as Spock but sent him back in time to appear in a prequel movie. No reason why they wouldn't do the same with Picard given STD's total disregard for continuity."

Very good and astute point. I too was quick to presume that this new series would take place after TNG / DS9 / VOY ... but who knows? Particularly should the creators wish to tie it in with Discovery is some way (shared universes being so hot right now), well, with sci-fi, practically anything can be done, even if it is not the best idea from a storytelling / quality perspective.

And, in fairness, perhaps a prequel with Picard back in time / in a parallel universe or whatnot could still be decent. (I thought I read somewhere, for instance, that Sir Patrick Stewart himself is involved in developing storylines for the new series, which ought to bode well.) Even if it is not what many people expect or want.

But then again, for anyone in the camp of not liking Discovery much at all, with the same company and creators still behind this new series (and, once again, dwelling on / bringing back something from the glory days of Trek), there may be little room to expect something good. So as exciting as this could otherwise be, for a lot of fans, this is merely something of potential interest to keep an eye on.
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 9:59am (UTC -5)
@ Darren,

"So as exciting as this could otherwise be, for a lot of fans, this is merely something of potential interest to keep an eye on."

That is an extremely optimistic assessment. I think it's entirely possible that some of us will feel like hiding under the bed as it first airs.
Chrome
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
I’m just curious what capacity Stewart will be involved. Is he just playing a character, or will he direct some episodes? I’d be especially happy if the latter was the case.
Dom
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
@Darren, In theory, I'm the target audience for a Picard series. But given how bad STD was, and given that the same production team is helming this series too, I'm terrified they're going to ruin Picard's character. We can talk about the direction the show might go in, but until they get writers who can actually write it's all for naught. Even with Discovery, the problems were so much in execution, not concept.

As for Patrick Stewart being involved in the scripts... Well, I love him as a human being and an actor, but he's not a writer and his storytelling ideas on TNG weren't always great. He famously kept asking the writers to give Picard more action and sex. He was all for driving that dune buggy in Nemesis. I'm sure he'll do an amazing job bringing the scripts to life, but I'd actually prefer if he only had minimal story input.
Yanks
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Dom,

I don't think they can mess this character up. There is too much "Picard" out there and he's too big a trek icon.

But I wholeheartedly agree, Patrick should have nothing whatsoever to do with the writing. Spot on.

My biggest concern with this new series is how they are going to explain away Irumodic Syndrome.

Personally, I'm hoping they make him a Federation Ambassador, draw on the Sarak mind meld etc... maybe put him in the middle of reunification? .... something like that.
MadManMUC
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 1:49am (UTC -5)
@Yanks
'I don't think they can mess this character up. There is too much "Picard" out there and he's too big a trek icon.'

We all thought the same thing about the Star Trek franchise as a whole.

Then Enterprise, Nemesis, and Discovery happened.

Take nothing for granted, fellow Trekkies. This new Picard series has every potential to massacre one of our most beloved characters.
wolfstar
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 6:06am (UTC -5)
I unfortunately share the same reservations. More than anything, it isn't dramatically necessary.

Everyone is trying to copy the "shared universe" business model at the moment. So that if you don't like Discovery, you might like the Picard series, or if you don't like the Picard series, you might like the Tarantino movie - thereby ensuring the brand reaches as many people as possible by having sub-brands that appeal to different audiences. It's why the individual MCU movie strands and TV series all have quite different tones and genres. So this is why they're trying to expand Star Trek by stretching it into all kinds of different directions at the moment. The Picard series will be aimed at Trek nostalgists (while Discovery is aimed at a younger and more mainstream audience who perhaps haven't watched Star Trek before), and the Tarantino thing will be an "adult" dark fantasy aiming to follow the success of R-rated fantasy fare like Deadpool, Logan and (presumably) Venom.

I can only echo what others have said above: the success or failure of the Picard series will totally depend on the writing. Overall though, I think the franchise is being hugely overstretched. After Enterprise was cancelled in 2005, I think Trek should have been left to rest for much longer. But studios are never prepared to let brands die when there's money in them. Look at The Simpsons, it's been running for 30 years now and hasn't been relevant for 20 - so weak episodes now outnumber good ones two to one.

I would have been happy for Trek to just stop after Voyager. Enterprise, the Abrams films and now Discovery have diluted what Star Trek is and what Star Trek means so much. There's absolutely no creative passion in any of them, no story burning to be told, no compelling ideas - all this new Trek is being created as product, not art, whereas DS9, TOS, TNG (from S3 on) and even VOY some of the time had a distinctly literary approach. It was about telling great sci-fi stories. And this is where other series like The Expanse, The OA, Black Mirror etc. are light years ahead - they're about story, ideas and character first. The current expansions of the Star Wars and Star Trek universes are just about trying to wring value out of a brand.
Chrome
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 8:05am (UTC -5)
“The Picard series will be aimed at Trek nostalgists”

We don’t even know that much. It’s set to take place in a time after TNG, presumably decades later considering how much Picard’s actor has aged. Romulus is gone. That timeframe is uncharted territory.
MadManMUC
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 8:10am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar:
'And this is where other series like The Expanse, The OA, Black Mirror etc. are light years ahead - they're about story, ideas and character first.'

You mention The Expanse. I'm a massive, massive fan (though, to my shame, I've not read the source material yet) and a life-long Trek fan (not including the duds I previously mentioned), and I find The Expanse more true to the spirit of Trek than Trek is, especially when the second half of the latest season. It had it all: the moral dilemmas, the curosity of the universe, the political implcations, the burning questions about what it means to be human and what not being alone in the cosmos means, the coming together for the common good, and, at the very end, a really optimistic note about our future. It almost felt like we actually _were_ witnessing the birth of the Federation and watching it have its growing pains, just in The Expanse's universe.

Anyone arguing that a modern Trek has to be like Discovery — and not like what came before it — needs to watch The Expanse to see how fresh those themes can feel when well-treated, well-written, and well-directed.

We CAN have a modern Trek that feels fresh, but hits all the right notes we grew up to love for what they stood for. It's just a shame the current creative team can't understand this, and that it took another completely un-related series to pull it off.
Del_Duio
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 10:12am (UTC -5)
I think if it looks like they're going to turn STP into STD with crappy writing, Patrick Stewart will quit. The whole reason he seems to be wanting to play Picard again is because of the positive influence he had on people. No way he'd take Picard out of mothballs just to have the STD crew take big slimy dumps over his character!
wolfstar
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
I like STP as a provisional abbreviation. Or maybe Star Trek: Old Picard (STOP).

Chrome - re: my comment that “the Picard series will be aimed at Trek nostalgists”, I meant in terms of the studio perspective. If you're targeting a millennial demographic, you don't cast a 78-year-old as your protagonist - you cast SMG. But yeah, we have no idea what it'll be like in terms of the content or tone. As you say, it's uncharted territory. The involvement of Michael Chabon and Kirsten Beyer gives me hope it will have a more literary approach than STD and the Abrams films.
Jammer
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
My quick take, and an overdue excuse to change the home page photo.

https://www.jammersblog.com/2018/08/10/pondering-patrick-stewarts-return
Chrome
Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar

I understand the point you’re trying to make, but I’m not sure the studios are trying to fill all the demographic holes in the manner you suggest. Every series and film since Voyager has tried to recapture Trek nostalgia, so I don’t think that alone will be enough for a new series to succeed. On Jammer’s blog now, there’s an interesting discussion going on about how the new show needs to take more risks than Discovery to be a great Trek show.

Also, I think you’re underestimating the staying power of TNG. There are millenials on this board who watch and enjoy it just like older viewers watched TOS reruns back when TNG was airing. Some Trek shows are timeless and Stewart will likely attract a broad spectrum of viewers.
Nic
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 10:02am (UTC -5)
I am at least mildly intrigued at Stewart's return to the franchise. There are still interesting issues to explore with Picard's character (which doesn't necessarily mean that they'll do it right, but at least there's the potential).

I see no potential at all, however, in the casting of Ethan Peck as a younger version of Spock in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Haven't we had enough Original Series homages/ripoffs (depending on how you feel about that sort of thing) already? We've already got Zachary Quinto playing Spock in the film series, and I wasn't thrilled with the endless aping of the classic films in "Into Darkness" and "Beyond". Enough already! If you can't write something original, find another job.
Chrome
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Well it’s not exactly a shocker considering Burnham’s relationship to Spock. It’s also logical we’d see Spock if we see Pike, I just wonder how much screentime they’ll get.
wolfstar
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
The franchise is eating itself.

This started towards the end of Voyager, not just with the increasing overreliance on the Borg, but also when the Ferengi ("Inside Man"), the Klingons ("Prophecy") and other Alpha Quadrant races ("Unimatrix Zero", "Flesh And Blood") were rolled out to unsuccessful effect with no solid scriptual underpinning, as if to say "Look! It's the Ferengi/Klingons/the Borg Queen! Are you not happy?" - as if their mere presence would make Trek fans rapturous, so who cares about the script?

It continued with the atavistic Enterprise, the very premise and name of which represents an attempt to recapture past glory (thereby undermining the whole canon through the sudden invention of another Starship Enterprise a century before Kirk). Even the casting was backward-looking, an attempt to reproduce the Kirk-Spock-McCoy trinity in the form of Archer-T'Pol-Tucker that didn't really work (Archer being the weakest and most inconsistent character of the three), while making the Spock equivalent double up as the resident Space Babe. Enterprise at least tried to do something new with the Suliban and Temporal Cold War (largely unsuccessful, but an original and interesting concept) and the Xindi (largely successful, especially as the season came together), but the atavism reached a head in season 4 which, unlike many, I don't consider a success. I'm with Jammer in that a lot of what season 4 attempted was good, but it often didn't pull it off. (I love the augments trilogy and In A Mirror Darkly, and the Andorian trilogy is fairly solid too, but the rest of it didn't work for me because the writing wasn't good enough.)

Then we got the literal reboot films which recast the TOS characters with new actors while telling stories that had none of the ideas, themes, grit, style or character core that the original had (with the exception of the decent character scenes in Beyond, which I really appreciated despite the last third of the film being a mess).

Then we got Discovery which again totally rewrote canon and desperately aims to capitalise on the recognition factor by relying on Vulcans and Klingons as tropes without having any real understanding of what Vulcans and Klingons are. And another pseudo-Vulcan in a lead role. The Orville is also an outright rehash - I generally enjoy the characters but for many episodes it's too easy to pick out which TNG/TOS/VOY episodes the plot is obviously derived from. Now on Discovery we're getting Pike and Spock, and apparently a lighter tone in places that (judging by the elevator scene in the trailer) cribs directly from The Orville. Great.

What TNG did with the Borg was new. What it did with the Cardassians, and what DS9 then did with the Cardassians, Bajorans, Dominion and reinvented Ferengi was new. What VOY did with the Vidiians and Hirogen was new. All of it was compelling. I'd add that what DIS has done with Saru is also new and compelling, but was unfortunately only a minor part of the season.

Trek has to stop looking back and relying on TOS (and TNG) tropes as brand recognition factors. Vulcans hardly appeared at all in TNG and especially DS9, but a lead Vulcan or adoptive-Vulcan character has been a fixed part of every iteration since (Tuvok, T'Pol, Abrams Spock, Burnham, and now New New Spock). The Borg were only in 6 episodes of TNG and none of DS9, but as Voyager struggled to stay compelling and original it relied on them more and more to the point it ran them into the ground.

Saru and his people are the most original and compelling thing about Discovery, and huge potential riches (ethics, trauma and survivorship, and connections to real world issues from the legal definition of a person to animal rights to refugees, persecution and minority stress) lie in exploring them in the hands of the right writers. This is an example of what Discovery should be doing. Not "Look, here's Pike! Look, here's Spock!"

I'll be just as pissed if in a decade's time, having mined the TOS and TNG nostalgia to death, the franchise creates some cynical DS9 spinoff/reboot with a recast new Sisko, a new Kira, a new Garak, a new Odo etc. The thing about Trek is that most of the great characters really are synonymous with, and inseparable from, the actor that plays them. William Shatner IS Kirk. Leonard Nimoy IS Spock. Michael Dorn IS Worf. Avery Brooks IS Sisko. Jeri Ryan IS Seven. Robert Picardo IS the Doc. Connor Trineer IS Trip. John Billingsley IS Phlox. And Doug Jones IS Saru.

I'm just so sick of this endless recycling. Like when you've worn and washed a t-shirt hundreds of times until the colors have all faded. The more this approach is taken, the more you just end up with a copy of a copy of a copy that eventually bears no resemblance to the original. Or that looks like it and tries to emulate it on a superficial level, but is hollow and has none of the heart. You end up with B-4 instead of Data. Simulacra Trek.
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
@ wolfstar,

"This started towards the end of Voyager, not just with the increasing overreliance on the Borg, but also when the Ferengi ("Inside Man"), the Klingons ("Prophecy") and other Alpha Quadrant races ("Unimatrix Zero", "Flesh And Blood") were rolled out to unsuccessful effect with no solid scriptual underpinning, as if to say "Look! It's the Ferengi/Klingons/the Borg Queen! Are you not happy?" - as if their mere presence would make Trek fans rapturous, so who cares about the script?"

Trek was in its coffin as of the exact moment the Borg Queen balled up her fist and cursed "Janeway!" and became a cartoon villain.
Chrome
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, I mean the Trek recycling has been going on for awhile but I wouldn’t lump Spock with the Borg Queen and the like. Also one big difference is that Voyager and Enterprise had to make extremely convoluted scenarios to include TNG characters but given DISC’s time period you’d expect to see a lot of TOS characters naturally.
wolfstar
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
"Trek was in its coffin as of the exact moment the Borg Queen balled up her fist and cursed "Janeway!" and became a cartoon villain."

Exactly Peter - Voyager ruined the Borg the way Enterprise ruined the Vulcans and Discovery ruined the Klingons. (A similar analogy can be drawn with the moment that Dukat went from three-dimensional to "cartoon evil" on DS9; fortunately it didn't happen to the Cardassians as a whole though.)
Yanks
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, 8:29am (UTC -5)
wolfstar, Peter G,

"Voyager ruined the Borg the way Enterprise ruined the Vulcans and Discovery ruined the Klingons. (A similar analogy can be drawn with the moment that Dukat went from three-dimensional to "cartoon evil" on DS9; fortunately it didn't happen to the Cardassians as a whole though.)"

Voyager didn't ruin the borg, the movie First Contact did. Anything after that was fair game.

Enterprise didn't ruin the Vulcans either. It gave them more depth as a race.

Discovery has only ruined the Klingons in appearance. Which seemed to be the birth-right of the writers throughout trek.

wolfstar,

"This started towards the end of Voyager, not just with the increasing overreliance on the Borg, but also when the Ferengi ("Inside Man"), the Klingons ("Prophecy") and other Alpha Quadrant races ("Unimatrix Zero", "Flesh And Blood") were rolled out to unsuccessful effect with no solid scriptual underpinning, as if to say "Look! It's the Ferengi/Klingons/the Borg Queen! Are you not happy?" - as if their mere presence would make Trek fans rapturous, so who cares about the script?"

I agree with all except the borg. Voyager was in the Delta Quadrant, it was going to happen and really wouldn't have been right had they not had to deal with them.


"Then we got Discovery which again totally rewrote canon"

Well, the jury is out here... the only real hardspot is the Spore drive and that "science", but I think that will get shelved and then it will be a blip in the trekverse, not a sweeping space-travel overhaul.

"I'm just so sick of this endless recycling. Like when you've worn and washed a t-shirt hundreds of times until the colors have all faded. The more this approach is taken, the more you just end up with a copy of a copy of a copy that eventually bears no resemblance to the original. Or that looks like it and tries to emulate it on a superficial level, but is hollow and has none of the heart. You end up with B-4 instead of Data. Simulacra Trek."

I'm with ya. But because "they" decided to put STD in before TOS, we will have more recycling. The primary reason I wanted this new series to be post Nemisis.

But hey, we could get B4 in this new "Picard" series :-)
Peter G.
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, 10:01am (UTC -5)
@ Yanks,

"Voyager didn't ruin the borg, the movie First Contact did. Anything after that was fair game."

It's true that FC ruined the concept of the Borg, and I was very upset about it at the time. However the script still left them with dignity, even if their identity had been fundamentally altered. They were serious opponents, just not the ones we took them for. Voyager, on the other hand, reduced the Borg Queen to the equivalent of the Duras Sisters. True, this isn't a change of type but rather the scale of badness, however the scale went way past the red line with the "Janeway!" line and not only weren't the Borg scary anymore but they weren't even to be taken seriously.
Chrome
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, 10:13am (UTC -5)
“The thing about Trek is that most of the great characters really are synonymous with, and inseparable from, the actor that plays them. William Shatner IS Kirk. Leonard Nimoy IS Spock. Michael Dorn IS Worf. Avery Brooks IS Sisko. Jeri Ryan IS Seven. Robert Picardo IS the Doc. Connor Trineer IS Trip. John Billingsley IS Phlox. And Doug Jones IS Saru.“

That’s your opinion and you’re welcome to it, however some of us still like seeing new Spock stories even though Nimoy passed away. This is no disrespect to Nimoy, I think, who often spoke fondly of Zachary Quinto and his portrayal of Spock. Perhaps Star Trek characters have become iconic enough (at least in America) that they transcend generations and actors.
wolfstar
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Hey Yanks :). I guess I should clarify that when I say Voyager ruined and overrelied on the Borg, I absolutely don't mean Scorpion, or other episodes like Drone, The Raven, Unity or indeed most of the Borg Children arc (with the exception of the idea introduced in Child's Play that transwarp conduits are fixed architecture as opposed to transient passages that can just be opened anywhere in space). For me, Scorpion, Unity, The Raven, Drone, Infinite Regress and various Seven character episodes like Imperfection and Retrospect represent Voyager's best handling of the Borg, and exactly what it should have been doing. The Borg episodes that I consider a total mess are Dark Frontier, Endgame and (worst of the three) Unimatrix Zero. So I totally agree that the Borg's inclusion in Voyager was logical. I just think those particular three 2-parters were really badly written and did a lot of damage.

I agree with Peter on First Contact. In all her appearances, the Borg Queen was nothing more than a narrative device, but her characterization and usage was markedly different on Voyager compared to First Contact. The conflict between her and Janeway that was spun out over those three two-parters (Dark Frontier, UMZ and Endgame) was written and acted at the level of soap opera diva rivalry. There was no logic or dramatic weight to any of it.

I didn't like Enterprise's handling of the Vulcans (including the Forge trilogy, which I know a lot of people love but I consider botched) or Discovery's handling of the Klingons (the issues go way beyond appearances - as others have commented, they may as well have created a totally new alien race instead of calling them Klingons, as Discovery's "Klingons" have essentially nothing in common with "our" Klingons).
Hohn
Tue, Sep 11, 2018, 8:55am (UTC -5)
I know this is not really the place to ask this but when are you reviewing Babylon 5. You loved Deep Space Nine. You desire lasting changes, larger stories, creativity and substance. So.... when?

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