Star Trek: Discovery

"Point of Light"

2 stars

Air date: 1/31/2019
Written by Andrew Colville
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

After the first two episodes of season two seemed to serve as a sort of re-calibration of this series to be a little more contemplative and a little less frenetic, we now get "Point of Light," which serves as the un-re-calibration and feels like a structural throwback to season one. This is a rushed, overly busy episode featuring no fewer than four plotlines, executed at variable levels of pacing and interest. In some cases, the goal appears to have been to quickly move characters from point A to B at absolutely all costs. In other cases, we seem to be on a stationary bike. In no cases is this absorbing storytelling like in "Brother" or "New Eden," because it's just too much spread too thin. It's more along the lines of: Well, all that just happened. Tune in next week to see where all this is maybe going!

On the stationary bike front, we have Spock's and Michael's mother Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner) boarding the Discovery shortly after word arrives from Starfleet that Spock has fled because he allegedly killed three people at his psychiatric institution. Is this a lie or the truth? The episode sends mixed signals and doesn't tell us. (I'm hoping it's a lie mostly so I don't have to add "psycho murderer" to Spock's canon.)

Amanda wants Burnham to reach out to Spock, but there's the trouble of Burnham's Big Awful Secret. She did something terrible to Spock to push him away, and he hasn't spoken to her for years as a result. The Amanda/Burnham scenes are played with no shortage of Urgently Whispered Emotion by both actresses, but such scenes are hard to invest in when it starts to feel like this is just a big intentional stalling game. What's the Big Awful Secret? We don't find out, because it's not even revealed to Amanda by Burnham here beyond vague vagueness. We're three episodes in and Spock has yet to make an appearance. All this build-up feels like it's setting us up for a momentous letdown. Hopefully that won't be the case.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the Tyler/L'Rell/Klingon storyline, which tries to cram several episodes of plot into a fraction of a single show. We have (1) Voq/Tyler's split identity being used against him politically; (2) the revelation of Voq's and L'Rell's baby, which is revealed to Voq/Tyler for the first time here; (3) an attempted coup d'etat against L'Rell perpetrated by one of her many enemies in this fragile new unified Klingon Empire, leading to a big stabby bat'leth fight; (4) L'Rell attempting to put down a larger insurrection by pretending to have killed the political liability that is Tyler and their son, as she casts their (fake) severed heads into a chasm. All this is partially orchestrated within this story's third major plotline spun out from item (5) in this this plotline — Emperor Georgiou's mission as a newly minted agent of Section 31 (acting as her allegedly-somehow-survived Prime Universe doppelganger, though I fail to see how that works or why it's necessary) to make sure L'Rell stays in power so the Klingons don't resume hostilities against the Federation.

All this happens amid the partial un-reimagining of the disastrously reimagined season one Klingons. They get their hair back here, and the subtitles are drastically reduced, and they unveil the D7-class battle cruiser — although L'Rell still sounds like she has a mouth full of marbles.

I will say this: Klingon politics were much more watchable when a sense of charisma and fun were injected into their pompous bombast via an actor like Robert O'Reilly, and used as a foil against the righteous integrity of Michael Dorn. Here we just get generic bad guys making a move on a leader when we barely understand the political situation at hand. (Whatever happened to the bomb L'Rell used to seize control in the first place? Maybe it's best not to dwell on the absurd machinations that got us here.)

On the one hand, there's a certain economy to learning about all these things and dealing with them immediately. And amazingly, it's coherent enough to follow this compressed plot. By the end of the hour, Tyler is off Kronos and reluctantly recruited by Georgiou into Section 31, which is probably better than stranding him on Kronos in a bubble narrative for several boring episodes (assuming — which is my guess — the Klingon storyline is being significantly back-burnered or abandoned for the remainder of the season). On the other hand, these events are so swift and sudden they make your head spin: Tyler learns he has a baby, then is forced to abandon him because ... well, because it's easier than having a baby involved in future plotlines. Why introduce the baby at all here, except as an extraneous plot device that could've been anything? (I suppose to give this some emotional weight?) Shazad Latif does what he can with this, but it's hard to have an emotional arc when there's simply no time for those emotions to gain traction.

The fourth plot here is probably the most vivid of the lot, involving Tilly still seeing her dead friend May, who follows her around the ship and talks to her, much to Tilly's ever-increasing dismay. Tilly's meltdown on the bridge had a good dose of frantic disorientation. Mary Wiseman is good in these scenes where Tilly is being driven to madness by this unwelcome visitor, particularly the scene in her quarters where Burnham helps talk her through the ordeal with some logical science-based explanations. Ultimately, Stamets is able to remove the visitor from Tilly, which is some sort of spore-based life that ended up attaching itself to her (confirmed as the green speck we've previously discussed).

But like many things that happen in "Point of Light," there's not much we can feel about this storyline yet (other than the visceral sense of Tilly losing her grip early on), because it's so inconclusive and part of the overall serial slush fund. This isn't a terrible outing, but it's not good or memorable, and after the first two outings of the season, it's a step backward. The title of the episode, which can mean anything and therefore means nothing, kind of underscores the problem. This is 90 percent plot, leaving a 10 percent sliver for everything else.

Some other thoughts:

  • Section 31 has their own ships, which goes against what we learn about them in the 24th century. It appears in the 23rd century, Section 31 is still operating at least partially within Starfleet's official sanction.
  • And on that topic, there's supposedly a planned Section 31 series that would star Michelle Yeoh currently in development as part of the ever-growing CBS All Access Star Trek Extended Universe. I don't know how much Trek can be sustained simultaneously, and I have no idea how much of Section 31 will be seen on Discovery. I guess we'll find out.
  • The moment where Stamets wastes no time in extracting the spore-based alien-whatever is almost hilarious in its haste. He's basically like, "Okay, let's do this," and then zaps Tilly with his thingamabob before she can even offer a word of protest. This feels rash, but in the moment it's also kinda funny.
  • The sideways shots and 90-degree camera moves draw way too much attention to themselves. Less is more, directors of photography.
  • If I'm supposed to be impressed and spine-chilled by L'Rell telling all her Klingon subjects to bow down and call her MOTHER, well, um, not so much.
  • In the voice of Avery Brooks from that It Is the Year 2000 IBM commercial asking Where Are the Flying Cars: This season I was promised Tig Notaro. Since the premiere, I don't see any Tig Notaro.

Previous episode: New Eden
Next episode: An Obol for Charon

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190 comments on this review

Rahul
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 8:41pm (UTC -6)
DSC got back to some of its bad habits from Season 1 with a helter-skelter episode, trying to do too much in 1 hour with 3 or 4 subplots moving along and plenty of jumping between them — this is not good pacing, direction, or structure for me. Found it hard to get absorbed into any of the subplots although they all have merit on their own (to varying extents). While the overall arc advances on a number of fronts, there were too many “introductions” here with the Klingons (L’Rell/Tyler) and then Section 31 (Georgiou) coming out of nowhere.

DSC could have spent an entire episode on L’Rell’s defence of her leadership, Tyler’s role, their baby, the challenge from Kol’s father. But the way it was treated was far too rushed. At least DSC seems to have mostly abandoned the subtitles (good) and the episode even says that after the war the Klingons are growing their hair back! OK, so we’re moving into more familiar territory! One minor issue is L’Rell as Klingon High Chancellor — I recall Gowron saying in “Redemption” something like women can’t/don't serve on the Klingon High Council (the Duras sisters came up with a male offspring of Duras). So something doesn’t jive here with canon.

As for the Spock subplot, I liked Amanda (and not Sarek) getting involved here — seems like a more grounded character. She had some regrets about how she raised both Spock and Michael. Some more curious developments with Spock’s “extreme empathy deficit” and a report of him killing 3 people which everybody calls BS on. Plenty of discussion about the 7 signals/Red Angel messing him up from childhood. Another big question for the writers to provide an answer to is what did Michael Burnham do to keep Spock away from her to protect him from the logic extremists? At some point — I know it’s only 3 episodes so far — it would be good to get some answers instead of more mysteries. This subplot wasn’t great but it didn’t suck.

The Tilly spore/dark matter plot could have been omitted from this episode to give more time to the other subplots. Instead I found it mostly annoying due to the visions of May screwing with Tilly. But the actress playing Tilly did a great job in the scene where she explains how she’s losing it to Burnham. Then it just becomes some silliness with Stamets pulling the multi-dimensional fungal parasite out of her Ghostbuster style. Hopefully Tilly can get back to “normal” for herself — it should make for good secondary stuff to have a young, enterprising cadet go through training and contribute from time to time.

And Section 31 is back with Georgiou and her own ship recruiting Tyler. I found it borderline ridiculous when she pops up to save L'Rell/Tyler from death -- but this is Section 31 so they can do pretty much anything, right? Bit of trickery to get L’Rell to convince the Klingon High Council that the baby and Tyler are dead. Thought it was stupid when L'Rell asked them to call her “Mother” but at least her in that seat means no more Klingon aggression toward the Federation — no need for going down that road anymore.

Some general thoughts: Compare this DSC S2 arc to ENT’s temporal cold war which started out with some pretty good episodes (Cold Front, Shockwave) that provided some intriguing exposition and created interesting possibilities. But the writers couldn’t back up the grandiose setup with credible resolution (Storm Front was middling). The DSC writers deserve a great deal more skepticism than the ENT writers especially after mostly laying an egg in Season 1. Now with previews talking about a threat to all sentient life in the galaxy, I just wonder why is there a need to dial up the stakes to galactic proportions? Do these show runners think that high stakes and shock value equate to quality episodes/Trek?

Personally, I’d be in favour of more episodic DSC. I’m actually liking it more when an episode feels self-contained since it’s all been mini-arcs so far. That was a plus for “New Eden” and a minus for “Point of Light”.

A low 2.5 stars for “Point of Light” — the structure of the episode bothered me most. In a way, it was like DS9’s 7th season where they tried juggling 3 or 4 subplots in an episode — but DS9 had a much stronger arc/characters whereas here it’s all exposition and so one can only wonder where they are going and ponder the outlook. I just hope subsequent episodes don’t take this structural approach and focus on only 1 or 2 subplots in an episode. There is plenty of intrigue and the makings of a decent story overall but these writers haven’t earned my trust yet.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, I dunno what to think here. It's definitely more a Season 1 episode than the first two this year. It felt like a "slice of an arc" rather than a standalone story. It tried to do three things at once (mostly to keep all of the cast involved I think) but really didn't spend enough time on any of them for my tastes.

I would define the Klingon plotline with L'Rell and Ash as the "A plot" of this episode, since it clearly got the most screen time. I honestly didn't mind it. It was done much, much better than the Klingon politics from the first season. Qonos finally felt kind of like a real place (though seriously - is the sun ever out guys?). What made the plot work for me was mostly that Mary Chieffo and Shazad Latif put in damn good performances, portraying the complexity of the emotions that each of their characters felt with aplomb. The scripting here felt a bit tighter too - maybe because this plot was focusing on emotions, rather than exposition. I knew the left field appearance of MU Georgiou was coming, but it was still honestly unwelcome. Her character really only existed as a dues ex machina to move the plot along, and blunted a lot of the earlier emotional impact. Nothing about her reveal made me feel any more confident about Section 31 being a major element going forward.

The B plot was basically Micheal and Amanda Grayson talking alone in a room together about Spock. It was just exposition for the sake of the viewer in a lot of ways, but Mia Kirshner just hit it out of the park in terms of a performance here, which made it forgivable when she was delivering the lines. Unfortunately, she kinda outacts SMG, which made Micheal's responses back seem a bit off in places - a bit too matter of fact. I'm still deeply conflicted about adding this entire tortured backstory to Spock which had never existed. I loved how Amanda basically walked out on Micheal at the end, furious at what Micheal had done to push Spock away long ago - that we didn't get the neat and easy resolution

The C plot - Tilly's "imaginary friend" and its removal - was kinda rote, though it continued to be creepy. I'm happy they went with a technobabble explanation rather than yet more woo. But it still felt like it was awkwardly wedged into the episode - largely to give Tilly and Saru something to do. Hell, Stamets appeared for all of two minutes in this episode - basically just gave some spore techobabble and then sucked the lifeform out of Tilly. I realize in a series like this not everyone can have an integral plot role every week, but his character has been getting quite short shift for awhile now.

I'd rate this 2.5 stars. There's some interesting bits here, but not enough to have a good episode. Still a lot less of a mess than much of season 1 however.
DISCO shirt
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
I am shocked at much I hated it, especially after last week.

Last week was, in my opinion, the best episode of the show thus far. It was tight, fun, funny, contemplative. It was everything I want the show to be.

This week was meandering, boring, inconsequential. No one learned anything. No one grew. Nothing happened.

It was also, hands down, one of the worst directed hours of television I've seen maybe ever. It was shockingly bad. Actors were stiff, delivered their lines in a rushed, awkward way, the action was clunky (especially that Klingon fight scene), and it was a guessing game for some characters motivations. When Amanda left Michael was she...mad at her? determined to find Spock? I had no idea how to read her.

And the script was horrendous. Just line after line of exposition. No depth. No nuance.

Did the Klingon Empire really change Chancellorships on account of a signed contract? Is this Ferenginar? Someone please, anyone who has been a Star Trek fan for more than...let's say, four years, defend that.

We've gone from Worf vs. Gowron in a duel to the death to decide who wins the throne to... "I'ma need your thumb print here...initial there...thanks."

I'm absolutely stunned at how much I hated it, because I LOVED last week's episode. I was lukewarm last season, unsatisfied after episode one, but all-in and on board last week. This week is in the bottom ten Star Trek episodes ever.

It wasn't insulting in its badness. That's a distinction reserved for episodes like Turnabout Intruder, Spock's Brain, Code of Honor, Sub Rosa, Move Along Home, Threshold. It was just bad for how poorly made it was, how weak the script was, how utterly inconsequential everything that happened was.

It's indefensible and no amount of fan service like Kor's daddy, or the D7, or Section 31 can change the fact that it's just a bad, bad hour of TV.
Shannon
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
I have mixed feelings about this one, after two solid episodes to open up the second season. While I enjoyed the continuation of the 7 red signals plot line and the continuing mystery around Spock's involvement, I can't say I'm overjoyed to be revisiting the Klingons. I do like the idea of bringing Emperor/Captain Georgiou back as a member of the secretive Section 31, and perhaps this was a plot device to get Voq/Tyler back into the fold. Since the entire season is one long 14-episode arc, time will tell... I'm going to give this one 2.5 out of 4.0 stars and look forward to the continuation of the main plot.
William D Wehrs
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 10:32pm (UTC -6)
One word is defining my attitude towards this season: apathy. The show still seems to have no real interest in its characters. Voq/Tyler finding out he has a baby should be a BIG deal, not something brushed through in a scene. For god's sake, why doesn't this show understand the concept of pacing or plotting. You can't have a jampacked Klingon political plot, a Burnham/mom plot, AND a Tilly plot all in one episode. None of the plot lines have time to breathe, and thus just leave one uninterested in any of them. It's made all the more frustrating because each of these ideas have potential on their own. For example, why are the Klingons frustrated with L'Rell? If the show had time to breathe, we could have actually found out beyond the incredibly simplistic "they're evil" or whatever.

Another huge problem was the direction. For god's sake I felt as if I was watching Battlefield Earth with all the wonky angles going on. Also, could the production crew PLEASE invest in a tripod. I don't like feeling sea sick all the time. Overall, yet another disappointing misfire for a show that keeps stumbling with no real sense of direction.
FELCommentary
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 10:46pm (UTC -6)
Once again, Discovery shows to me that they can't tell a Klingon story that isn't off-the-walls ridiculous and ignorant of canon. The D7 and the hair line were great, but the consistent idea of this badass honorable warrior race reducing to Game of Thrones style betrayal and treachery. Also that line about being called "mother" made my sides cringe into orbit.

The Spock storyline was solid, with more backstory building for both Michael and this show's version of Spock. The more it goes on, the more I wish Michael was an original stand-alone character and had her own brother (let's call him Jock). If Jock was a regular Human who was a Commander of a legendary ship that started losing it and supposedly murdering doctors, it would be less head scratching as to how such a gentle and loveable character like Spock ended up this way. I'm sure it's all going to lead up to some sort of redemption/reconstruction of DSC's Spock to the TOS Spock, but I'm getting pretty tired of edge-lord door-slamming Spock.

The Tilly storyline was my favorite, with some pretty good acting from Mary Wiseman. This seems to be a storyline that's going to span across the season for her, which is great, if it didn't coincide with two other storylines this episode. Which brings me to my biggest problem: this episode felt more like having 3 B-list plots and not an A/B plot. This is the problem with the whole "let's make Star Trek: Discovery a serialized show", because you're going to have a bunch of plot points at the same time early on and they all get bogged down from it because Trek doesn't fit that nature. DS9 did it well in their 6/7th season because it was the 6/7th season and everyone/everything was developed.

Also please fire that director for this episode: the camera angles and motion genuinely made me feel nauseous. Whatever happened to a simple panning of a room introduction or shot/reverse shot conversation? Hold the goddamn camera still.

2 stars for Point of Light: disappointing coming off of probably the best episode of the show, but understandable that serialized shows like this will have slow stinker episodes.
Drea
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:25am (UTC -6)
Definitely enjoyed it!

This felt like a season 1 episode done right. Season 1's breakneck pacing might have worked had its constant and predictable revelations not wound up as eye-rollers. Let's contrast that style with even the silliest of this week's plots, the Booger Monster sucked from Tilly. We the audience should guess early that it's an alien entity for exactly the reasons that Burnham supplies, in classic Sherlock style. The writers clearly know we know and don't treat us like we're dumb. However, it's entirely reasonable that Tilly, under duress of believing she is losing her mind, does not put those pieces together. So instead of a clunker of a twist played for audience shock, we watch a character fall apart under something whose nature we're in a better position to guess at than she is.

And hey, the Klingons think like Klingons! Which is to say, chest-beating honor in public, and cowardly treachery behind the scenes. Someone above wanted the transfer of chancellorship via contract defended by any long-term Trek fan. To anyone who remembers the Duras, or for that matter Gowron, can anyone remember the Council working in any other way than whatever will serve the machinations of power? This held my attention. I wanted to stab myself with a bat'leth with every Klingon scene last season, which would've taken a long time since mine is foam. Not so here.

It was a bad idea to begin with to make the lead of the new show the sister of a beloved character from the old, but season 2 is rolling with it, and it feels reasonably engaging. The "Logic Extremists" come up again, and it's a shame that the Vulcan supremacists have such a silly name, because they make a measure of sense at this point in Trek history. The worst folk of Archer's era are still alive, and they would hold a minority view that has no sway through electoral means. So, terrorism. Being targeted for violence hasn't exactly helped what would already have been tense family dynamics in Michael's household.

Hope the season keeps a good mixture of slower episodes and more plot-driven ones like this.
Pm
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:11am (UTC -6)
Basically, if you write comments on this site, this week's episode was apparently written for the other 99.999999999999% of people who watch this show ; ) For the record, I thought it was fine. Will try and find some time to really get into Discovery in order to hate it in the near future though.
Clark
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:29am (UTC -6)
They sure tried to stuff lot in this episode to mixed results. Agree with @William D Wehrs, wish they would let things let things breathe. The cuts between Tilly's plot to intense klingon politics were especially jarring.
2/4 for me.
Uxbridge
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:47am (UTC -6)
I hated this episode. There were too many things that brought me back to aspects of season 1 that I disliked.

1. Just seeing L’Rell again irritated me, because it reminded me of the absurd way she became Chancellor in the first place. It’s no surprise many people want to overthrow her.

2. Having Tyler back just reminded me of the stupidity of him being a sleeper agent in the first place. Him and L’Rell had no plan and accomplished nothing with him being a sleeper agent, aside from killing a good character in Dr.Culber for shock value.

3. The presence of Emperor Georgiou is offensive on so many levels. Any reminder of the mirror universe is just bad, as the mirror universe is just a gimmick that was focused on way too much last season. And I still can’t get over Starfleet making her captain of Discovery last season because “they were out of all other options”. Furthermore, Emperor Georgiou is not an interesting character at all. She is just evil. There is nothing else to her personality.

I think what really bugged me though is all the focus on L’Rell/Tyler/Georgiou took away from the actual Discovery crew. I want to see more of Pike/Saru/Stamets, and a more developed bridge crew. I want them to engage in missions where the crew has to work together. I want crew members to have interesting discussions regarding difficult issues, WITHOUT any music playing in the background.

I might give the episode 0.5 stars for the material related to Tilly. Otherwise, terrible episode.

Tim C
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 3:38am (UTC -6)
2 stars. it advances the long-term arc of the season on all fronts, but all three storylines are shortchanged by depriving the episode of any kind of unifying theme. It's not offensively bad television, it's just... there, giving us exposition for the next time something actually happens.

Stray thought: I do appreciate how DSC, by dint of not being primetime network television, can make a Klingon fight genuinely violent and bloody as it should be. Remember "Blood Oath"? An episode about Klingons slaughtering an entire enemy encampment, with zero on-screen gore. It was so sterile, it undermined what the episode was trying to accomplish. DSC don't have that problem.

The fight was pretty shoddily staged and directed, though. This show has done much better in the past.
Örs
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:17am (UTC -6)
this is not star trek. and not because certain startreky elements are missing - they can be added as hair to the 'Klingons' - but because its very core is something else. this is not a sci-fi anymore, it's a fantasy. a good one, actually - in atmosphere and in spirit as well. I enjoyed it at its own terms, but I wish for a different kind of star trek, which is about politics, society, scientific paradoxes, not about angels and demons.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:42am (UTC -6)
Yeah, well. Ugh.

This episode felt like an S01 episode. In other words: it sucked (I'm so shocked ... ).

The Spock/Red Things A-plot (if it can be called that, in this episode) was bereft of any real substance. We _barely_ advanced on it, other than to find out Spock apparently went stone bugfuck, and killed some people at Starbase 5. Beyond that, not much of anything substantial. The upshot is we didn't see all that much of Burnham again this episode, all things considered, and that's never a bad thing. The less of her, the better.

However, the less we get of Burnham, the more we get of other stuff that sucks. Namely — this week — the horrible Klingons in the B-plot. They still don't look like Klingons. They don't act like Klingons. And they sure as hell don't sound like Klingons, either. If you listen to their language in ST:TMP, STIII:TSFS, ST:TUC, TNG, and DS9, it sounds proud, forceful, enunciated. In STD, though, it all sounds so mush-mouthed. And really: 'Mother'? Fuck me, please stop.

And then it's on to the C-plot, with Ensign Crus— err, Ensign Tilly. As much as she annoys me, this part of the whole show should have actually been the A-plot. Other Trek series would have taken this idea of fungal inhabitation and made a whole enjoyable episode out of it. So, this is a completely wasted opportunity on the part of the producers and writers to do exactly that. The result would have been a potentially enjoyable episode right on the heels of last week's, which was also somewhat watchable. But, no. This is not how 'modern Star Trek' works, apparently.

And finally, the D-plot: Tyler/Voq/Capt Yawn. He joins Section 31. Oh, goody.

A random thought: The producers and writers are really taking the piss, and don't have any apparent intention of developing the bridge crew characters at all. Trek fans wanted to see/hear more from them, so what's the response from the producers? Having each one of these characters say one sentence from a bit of dialogue that should have realistically been split between only the helmsman and the comm officer. All in the name of giving them more 'visibility'. But what have we actually learned about them (answer: nothing)? How did they grow as characters in this episode (answer: they didn't)? Are we getting more emotionally invested in them as a result (answer: nope)? This is just fucking sloppy and annoying.

Episode rating: GNDN
Kinematic
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:52am (UTC -6)
Imagine asking a fanfic writer "Does your self-insert protagonist have any regrets? Has she ever hurt anyone or broken a relationship so badly it could never be fixed?"

And they reply, "Yes, but it happened because it was the only way she could protect them and also because they couldn't stand the fact that she was better than them at everything but she still loves them and she's the only person who can save them and actually she will find a way to make them understand what she had to do and love her again it's her DESTINY!"

What would your reaction be?

...

It's like everything good about the last episode vanished in favor of a parade of Season 1's worst vices of storytelling. I could not give half a damn about the Klingon plot nor the Michael/Spock plot. Giving Spock this heavy emo backstory that TOS never alluded to is all about putting Michael on a pedestal and it's nauseating. You just know that this season's denouement will be an actor doing a bad Leonard Nimoy impersonation tearfully reconciling with Michael and confirming her sainthood for all time.

In the last episode Frakes figured out the best way to use Michael: as a foil for other characters. She's semi-tolerable when she's eliciting dialog from Pike or Saru or Tilly, but now... ugh.

Also, isn't L'Rell supposed to be holding the homeworld hostage with a bomb? Where did it go? It's like any cohesion in the plot goes out the window when the Klingons show up. Acting too.
Trent
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:57am (UTC -6)
Discovery's season 1 opened with a great, tantalizing premise: a mysterious object in an asteroid belt, a stand-off between two fleets, a stand-off between two friends, the promise of a Klingon civil war!

It promised so much, but by episode 3 the season revealed its hands: this was a poorly written, manic series focused on comic book characters, juvenile drama/plot-arcs, hokey "twists", unlikeable characters, thoughtless camerawork and pacing which sabotaged any sense of tension, mystery or drama, poorly structured episodes (and poorly structured season arcs) and characters whose terribly written, generic dialogue never flowed, each character a talking head delivering its little speech-bubble entirely to itself.

Discovery's season 2 opened with a great, tantalizing premise: a mysterious set of red lights have appeared, and several Federation starships have been dispatched to investigate, one of which has been crippled. Yay! Exploration! First contact! Mystery!

But, of course, by the third episode Discovery season 2 reveals its hands: this is a another manic comicbook, padded with soap drama, and focusing entirely on things nobody cares about: Section 31, Ash, Voq, Spock, Spock's Mom and Dad, Ash's baby, Klingon politics (misguidedly treated "realistically" rather than with the allegorical power of TOS or the Shakespearean pomp of TNG), spore drives, spore aliens, Tilly's meltdowns, Evil Space Emperors, Evil Section 31 captains...all wrapped up in an aesthetic style designed to stimulate the brain-fried neurons of apathetic or lazy audiences. Discovery is simply bad art. More than most Trek, it feels like something impersonal reverse engineered by corporations and hack-writers with nothing to say, and so insecure about their work that they've got to constantly resort to distractions.
Gil
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:58am (UTC -6)
On the latest episode of Star Trek: Discombobulation…

Tilly is in a heated race. She stops for approximately 45 seconds. When she returns to the race her buff competition are practically just around the corner reduced to a jog. Tilly stampedes past them winning the race.

Tilly sees dead people. Tilly also wants to be a captain. But Tilly can’t even exercise sound judgement to avail herself of assistance to get to the bottom of it all. Tilly just has a breakdown instead, like any budding captain on STD would do.

Tilly has a breakdown on the bridge and neither the captain nor the first officer order her to sickbay or at least off the bridge. They both just stand their waiting on an ensign.

Tilly can’t think for herself because that’s Burnham’s job. But even Burnham doesn’t stop to consider attempting communication with the fungus. Neither does Stamets, who even opines that it seems to have opinions of its own. And perhaps for the first time ever on STD, Tilly ignores someone taking time out of their life to affirm her and opts for the liposuction instead.

Anything Klingon: Boring, poorly directed and written sub-GOT shenanigans.

Anything Burnham/Spock: Boring, poorly directed and written fan fic bilge.

Anything Georgiou/Section 31: Groan inducing, cynical malarkey for attendees of moustache twirling black ops in black leather soirées.

0 stars
wolfstar
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 6:50am (UTC -6)
Oh, it's just nonsense. Like terrible fan fiction. The Spock part was the least bad part, thanks to Mia Kirschner's performance and Pike's sensible actions. The rest was throwaway soap opera. The Klingon scenes are vulgar, ridiculous, and give you no reason to care about anything that's happening. I liked Mary Chieffo and Shazad Latif in season 1 but there's not much they can do with this material. Again, we're given mixed messages about Voq/Tyler in the course of a single episode - he emphasizes at the start that he IS Voq, merely modified to look human, but later says "I accessed one of Voq's memories" and says he can't be that person anymore.

This week in "Burnham tells people things they already know", instead of Tilly going straight to sickbay (or straight to Stamets), we have to have Burnham tell her what to do. We even get a "thanks to Burnham's insights" dialog scene later. This is exactly like her having to tell Saru to use *his own eyesight* in E1, and her having to remind Pike about the camera in E2 even though *he was present when they were told about it*. It's absolutely dire writing that inadvertently character-assassinates everyone else by making them look dumb and unprofessional (though Tilly in S2 is written this way anyway). This is why people call her a Mary Sue.

I don't know what was worse - Mirror Georgiou's intervention and her S31 spaceship, or the scene where they somehow sucked out Tilly's fungal infection using a dark matter asteroid fragment only for it to reassemble in mid-air and start flying around the room. If they had descibed the thing in Tilly as a non-corporeal entity, I might have been fine with it, but to show it on the screen as a systemic fungal infection then have it magically fly out through her skin and fly round the room like an alien was ridiculous. Absolutely awful. And this is why the Okudas are missed. There's a big difference between the science of Berman-era Trek and the fantasy and magic of DIS.

I've bemoaned this before, but Trek used to be an intergenerational show that you could watch with children and/or elderly relatives. Not when there's a decapitated baby's head, among other things. And for what? What has been gained by making Trek simultaneously nasty and inane? Honestly, I wouldn't mind the violence if it was in service of a compelling story - I love Conspiracy and Empok Nor (to name a couple of atypically violent past Trek episodes), and they work because they're exceptions. But this show serves up nastiness as part of its selling point, gore as titillation and empty spectacle, not in service of any ideas. I can't think of anything that goes more against the spirit of Star Trek.

1 star.
Kinematic
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 6:59am (UTC -6)
@Gil

Oh, right, there was so much bad in this episode I forgot all about Tilly's miraculous marathon win! And did you notice how while they were running the ship lights were all flickering as if they were in Event Horizon? Nothing like a convenient power malfunction to set the scene for your creeepy Sixth Sense plot.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 7:13am (UTC -6)
@wolfstar:

'I've bemoaned this before, but Trek used to be an intergenerational show that you could watch with children and/or elderly relatives. Not when there's a decapitated baby's head, among other things. And for what? What has been gained by making Trek simultaneously nasty and inane?'

Oh fuck, yes, you're spot-on. The decapitated baby's head was entirely too much. Absolutely dreadful.
Booming
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 7:27am (UTC -6)
First: What is up with the camera. I wasn't sure if I feel queasy or have seizures. The double circle at the beginning and all those half circle up shoots and the lighting.
Yikes.
About the actual story. Most said it already. Unfocused, rushed whatever you want to call it. This week solid acting from Mary Wiseman. Nice to see that she has range. Even though the magic mushroom part was dumb.
The Klingon world looked real even though I didn't care much for the story. I'm not sure what actually happened. In the end the only thing that really changed was T/V leaving with the albino child (which was sent to a place where people don't come back from.). So mostly wheel spinning
Oh and I'm am really sick of Vulcans. Can we get a few other species who aren't emotionally repressed... if Burnham gives up her Vulcanic state maybe we will find out if Martin-Green can act. Spock worked because Kirk and Bones were very emotional men. The only time Martin Greens acting made me feel something was when she congratulated Tilly about her (pretty undeserved) victory and it was also the scene were she showed emotions.
As was pointed out this also should have been two episodes. There is more stuff to say but the others covered it pretty nicely. So here is my verdict: I'm giving it 6 out of 10 unicorns on the rainbow scale.
JohnTY
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 7:35am (UTC -6)
I'll give it this: finding new stupid things on this show is kinda fun.

- (Just last week?) Sarek says he hoped Bernham would teach Spock empathy. Now Amanda says Sarek wanted Spock raised in the traditional Vulcan way..

- I'd forgotten how the ultra secretive Section 31 have their own insignia. And are therefore known to seemingly all starfleet officers. Makes you wonder how they stayed under the radar until the 24th century.

- "oh yeah I hear the klingons are growing their hair again". Continuity issues. SOLVED.

- Georghiou's weapons.

- Georghiou.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 8:28am (UTC -6)
Thinking more about it, while I didn't hate the Klingon plot, I wonder what the hell the point of it was in the greater scheme of things. Was it really just to come up with an excuse to get Tyler off of Qonos? He could have easily just shown up with MU Georgiou a few episodes hence and had three minutes of expository dialogue explaining what happened. It would have been much cheaper, and given them more time to focus on the other plots (which appear to be more arc critical). Unless they actually plan to do something substantive with L'Rell eventually as well.
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -6)
I usually defend Discovery but I can't defend that episode. It was poor. Far too much crammed into one episode. I was left feeling a bit dizzy, and disappointed. Hopefully now they've got all that exposition out of the way we can move on to more focused episodes - but why do we have to have all of that exposition stuffed into one episode like that???

Mae wanted to speak to Stammets who she describes as the real Captain, shouldn't Tilly have asked why? I was finding that episode strand the strongest until it descended into Ghostbuster type activities.

@Karl Z
Yes all of that Klingon stuff was literally just about getting Tyler off Qonos plus reintroducing Georgiou. And showing that the Klingons are now growing their hair...
Tim C
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:14am (UTC -6)
@wolfstar

"I've bemoaned this before, but Trek used to be an intergenerational show that you could watch with children and/or elderly relatives. Not when there's a decapitated baby's head, among other things. And for what? What has been gained by making Trek simultaneously nasty and inane?"

What has been gained? Some damn verisimilitude, that's what. I liked the old prime time TV shows too, but they could be so safe and sterile at times that it didn't just undermine the impact of what was on screen, it could make it unintentionally comedic. The uncountable number of times the supposedly deadly bat'leth was depicted landing like a club instead of the fucking brutal double ended *sword* that it actually is... the super cheesy fight moves... the way that adults in the quasi-military Starfleet never, ever swear. Not to mention the absolute tamest possible depictions of love and sex. All of the above was a concession to mandated broadcast TV standards and a desire for the highest possible ratings, not something the producers ever had any real enthusiasm for.

Subscription TV has finally freed us from the puritanical bullshit of American broadcast TV standards, and not a moment too soon.

I don't know which children or elderly relatives you've been watching with, btw, but I would have found this show to be fucking *awesome* as a kid. Khan's mind control ear worms used to give me nightmares back in the day and it did sure as hell not stop me from watching that scene over and over again.

I mean, "won't somebody please think of the children?" Really? That's what critics are resorting to now? Bugger off, Helen Lovejoy, and let the rest of us enjoy a bit of visceral spectacle.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:39am (UTC -6)
Now taking bets:

The mushroom thingy Stamets pulled out of Tilly was so Hell-bent on talking to Stamets, because — in a previous apparition — it appeared to Stamets as his dead, Worf-neck-snapped BF. And, in an effort to further communicate with Stamets, will somehow take this form again.*

Minimum bet is 10 strips of gold-pressed latinum.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:47am (UTC -6)
* My guess is that the mushroom thingy will merge with Stamets, with the net result being that Stamets will have a ghost-Culber with him at all times.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:48am (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC

That would be the most...expedient...way to bring back Culber. Though I doubt it's the case. The May character seemed a lot more ignorant about things than Culber's spore ghost last season - so much so that it's hard to imagine the two are the same entity.
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:49am (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC

Yep, of course the fungi thing is going to magically evolve into 'Hugh' mark 2... I should've seen that coming! I hope the second version of Hugh shows a bit more personality than the original did...
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:51am (UTC -6)
Well, let's be honest, Karl: STD spent the entirety of S01 telegraphing its 'twists', such that people had guessed them all by the time E05 rolled around. The writers aren't especially good at hiding anything, or at being clever.
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:52am (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC

A ghost Culber with Stammet at all times...! That reminds me of a UK show from the 1960s/70s Randall and Hopkirk, Deceased.
Trent
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:59am (UTC -6)
Tim C: "What has been gained? Some damn verisimilitude, that's what. [...]
Subscription TV has finally freed us from the puritanical bullshit of American broadcast TV standards, and not a moment too soon."

Every generation's version of "gritty" is just another laughably cartoonish version of unrealistic. There's no "verisimilitude" in "Discovery", just silliness updated with modern pyrotechnics and which takes advantage of, not a "decrease in Puritanical trends", but an audience of addicts which biologically seeks increasing harder hards and higher highs. Audiences have not "transcended Puritanical social mores", they're on the same hedonic treadmill they've always been on, zombie junkies looking for that next biochemical fix. 30 years ago they got their rocks off to Wonder Woman's bouncing bosoms. Now it's decapitated babies and the novelty of upside down zero gravity incest rape. Today's fad - now with extra photorealistic details on those sweet sweet baby mutilations! - are always tomorrow's joke.

Regardless, Trek's at its best when veering away from fads and when functioning as a metaphorical, allegorical, pseudo-stage play. You ask "what has been lost?" and it is precisely this. And we know this "fakeness" itself has benefits. Many studies, for example, show that obsessions with "realism" are stunting on a biological level; the highest human capacity is the capacity for conceptual metaphor, and fixating on quotidian reality, uber realism, droll literalism, and uber verisimilitude, tends to stunt complex/abstract thinking.

Chrome
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 10:20am (UTC -6)
I don't think there's something inherently bad with Discovery's frenetic storytelling, but it needs to serve a purpose. "Point of Light"'s biggest problem is not that it's trying to cram too many A plots into a single episode (it is), but that the stories themselves don't line up to make a cohesive message.

The title "Point of Light" seems to be referring to the green spore light that innocently landed on Tilly last season. Remember that, guys? Well, I don't blame you if you didn't because it was too subtle to be taken in as a serious story. But here we are. The title may also be referring to Ash Tyler, whose bright human visage stands out amongst the dark Klingon mosaic we're introduced to this episode. Finally, there's the very obvious metaphor about the light patterns of the Red Angel which relates to Spock story, where a point of light somehow caused him to become mentally unstable at some point in his life.

So under strain, one can sort of tie the stories together, but the key word is strain. The episode's biggest story (I think) is a dramatic one about Tilly putting up with what she thinks might be mental illness. This is especially unfortunate for her as she's made real progress in her career and is even being complement for her prowess in one of the training programs by Saru. Mary Wiseman does a good job with this material, and it's easy to really feel for her as she's dealing with these persistent visions from the past that she just wants to go away. After Tilly finally deciding the vision is a symptom of stress in entering the command track she decides to quit the program. This story ends on a sweet note with Burnham picking up that Tilly couldn't possibly be hallucinating. The explanation of her symptoms makes it clear that there's an outside influence at work, even if she doesn't realize it herself. I'm kind of on the fence about Tilly not picking up on this, however, as Stamets made it clear (to Tilly, no less) he was experiencing something similar last week when working with spores.

So then there's the Tyler story. On the up side, the Klingons quickly transition to English and they look and feel more Klingon with their facial hair and violent feuds between factions for petty reasons. But much if this story is patently absurd, as others have pointed out. Why is Tyler being put in such a public position? Why can't L'Rell just explain he's really a Klingon who was altered to serve the glory of the empire? When did L'Rell get pregnant? Don't ask these questions, because the writers won't answer them for you. In that sense, it's good that the Klingon story is more or less aborted (no pun intended), when Georgiou thankfully comes in and reveals she had been monitoring the tenuous situation on Kronos through the black ops group Section 31. With Voq in an understandably impossible living situation, Georgiou easily convinces L'Rell to give him up so that she can focus on the empire. One thing that works for me here is that Georgiou was an Empress herself, so it seems realistic in a sense that she'd have some wise words to impart onto L'Rell about leadership. And we needn't worry about follow up Klingon stories with Ash too much as it appears he's being recruited to Section 31.

The Spock story was very downbeat. I really enjoyed Mia Kirshner's portrayal of Amanda Grayson and I like that the family situation has no easy answers. There seem to be some big coverups going on here with Spock which is both intriguing and perhaps a little annoying as I have my doubt as to whether the writers have a coherent reason for clouding Spock in so much mystery. The cynical part me wants to say that it's because the showrunners got nothing behind the curtain, but I suppose time will tell.

So, unlike the title, I'm having trouble linking the content of these three stories together. Perhaps, to Discovery's detriment, they aren't supposed to be linked together. But, in previous episodes we're shown that when the writers let a story sort of sit and breathe they can really give us a cohesive theme to ponder. I think a lot of these story points such as the Ash material needed to be brought up, but if they were going to be addressed, the story should've been given more time to work a real message out. The escape from the Klingon storyline is a blessing, but it's also a missed opportunity. If there's anything I see in common with this week's stories, perhaps it's that.
PotLuck
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 10:47am (UTC -6)
That girl that keeps talking to Tilly in a vision.. she is now THE most annoying character in all of Star Trek.. even over Neelix and Michael Burnham. WOW.. way to go producers! I mean jeez louise.. I might be interested in this subplot if that character didn't hurt like nails on a chalkboard.

Overall a mundane outing. The Klingons are over designed. Instead of using traditional batleths.. they use these poor thinner overly detailed versions that look like coat hangers
John Harmon
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 11:29am (UTC -6)
Well that was...bad. But if this means tying up the Klingon nonsense for good then whatever.

I used to think the Klingon language sounded cool, but everyone in Discovery makes it sound so embarrassing. The way they pronounce it "KAHLESHHH💦💦💦" grates every time.

Hey, you know what I always wanted to see in Star Trek? Disembowelment and decapitated baby heads!

Hey you remember how in DS9 Section 31 is described as a group of individually operating people with no oversight or official backing or identifying markers whatsoever and that they're unequivocally the villains and how almost nobody outside of Section 31 had even heard of them? Well I guess now they're just an official sanctioned group of quirky super spies with their own ships and black badges that people see and go "oh that's Section 31 neat". Why does Alex Kurtzman keep wanting to randomly develop Section 31 but take out everything that makes it intriguing?

So Tilly disobeys direct orders constantly, shoves herself into every problem, and now keeps huge secrets that she's compromised for way too long? Why is she in the command program still? I'm genuinely confused.

Tyler wants to fully embrace being Klingon. Except for the time he murdered a man for no reason on a Federation ship.

Spock is legit crazy and is now a murderer. How fun. Man, Spock sure went through a lot before his awfully quaint adventures on The Enterprise a few years later.

Why does Burnham whisper every single line she has?

The season had a promising start, but this is back to season 1 levels of bad. Juggling 4 different c plots in one 45 minute episode. Never a good idea.

I don't know how many more times I can say "well I hope it gets better" while ignoring all the bad. The bullshit is piling up too high to ignore.
Yanks
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
wolfstar, you must have used that dark matter suction device Stamets used on Tilly and sucked your review right our of my head. ... then of course worded it better than I could. :-)

This is the first episode of Discovery that I didn't actually enjoy watching. Every episisode has something to gripe about, and there was plenty to gripe about in season one, but I still enjoyed watching the episode(s). This one is just garbage.

Everything Klingon to include Ash/L'Rell .... baby .... blah, blah..... You (or mabye just I) can't understand WTF Ash is saying unless I strain... and L'Rell isn't much better... I actually got excited there for a minute thinking they were going to be killed by the Klingon with hair.... but no - enter our new Section 31 goddess. not opposed to section 31 monitoring the Klingon debacle, but we could have been rid of these two...

As said be others before, the whole Tilly/bridge/going whacko scene was horrible... and that IS NOT a dig at Mary Wiseman... I think she's killing it with what she's given..... but she says "i quit" and everyone just stands there? ... they let her run off? .... this is the first Pike gaff...

So May gets yanked from Tilly.... and we hear nothing more? ... I thought sure they would go back to engineering before the end of the episode.

Good lord, Mia Kirshner is stinking up the joint as Amanda... I don't remember her being this bad in season one. Take the sock out of your mouth and speak up!! Same thing to SMG during all these scenes.... horrible. I'm not totally opposed to the Spock story, and am not opposed to Spock having a step sister we knew nothing about... but I certainly dont remember Amanda Grayson as being a whiner. Booo, hooo.... Spock was raised as a Vulcan... good lord...

Not happy with this effort what-so-ever... a big let down after the strong season two start.

1 star because of Mary Wiseman and Doug Jones.
Yanks
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:13pm (UTC -6)
Thanks John Harmon, I almost forget about this:

"Hey, you know what I always wanted to see in Star Trek? Disembowelment and decapitated baby heads!"

Now, not only is foul language part of trek... now we get this?

This trek thing used to be a family affair... not any more.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:33pm (UTC -6)
"Now, not only is foul language part of trek... now we get this?

This trek thing used to be a family affair... not any more. "

This I disagree with. Star Trek was one of the first shows to get "hell" on the air as well as "damn it". And then of course the film gives us Data with "Oh shit!" (not saying this was a great moment, but it just shows Trek was never intended to be sterilized).

There's an interesting article about the history of Trek language usage here:

https://www.avclub.com/damn-it-jim-a-brief-history-of-swearing-on-star-trek-1819617254

On the other hand, the action censorship on older Trek was ridiculous. Episodes like "To the Death", which originally included a longer, well-choreographed hand-to-hand fighting climax, were gutted leading to an unfortunately dull shell of the episode the showrunners were unhappy to air. I urge whose not familiar with this censorship to read the Star Trek wikia article on the episode. It's eye-opening how bad things were.
Thavash
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
Utter trash. I had to watch an episode of TOS afterward to make me forget it. I think I’m ok it Discovery gets canned now
Booming
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:53pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome: Yeah, imagine the first gay men kiss on TV (in the US) came 5 years after TNG ended! 20 years ago, before that every kiss in the US was a heterosexual one.
First female gay kiss was in the early 90s. DS9 was actually one of the earliest. It is pretty crazy when you think about it.
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks

Yes it ending there took me by surprise. It was very abrupt. To be honest I was actually glad it was over but I was expecting them to cut back to Engineering and Stammets and Tilly first but...no. Bizarre and terrible script.

Yanks
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
I hear ya Chrome, but it's all about context...

i don't like the way Discovery does it...

I didn't care for it in the new movies either.
HaightAsh
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
@PM

What you said.

The evolution-if one may call it that-of feedback for a given DISC episode is now following a familiar pattern.

A sprinkling of good reviews, while the alterkakers and ganstermachers - a group of about 10 people who bitch, moan and whine using language more tired than the show they hate so much would ever use-
get their creative hate juices flowing and hours later go on about how they hated last week's episode, how this one's even worse, and how next week's (which they can't wait to hate even more than they couldnt wait to hate this week') will be even more hate-worthy.

Perhaps these people do resent how the show is being written for 99.9999 percent of the world and not for them. It must be such a difficult burden to carry, this being imbued in the womb with perfect critical abilities that make whatever a dissenter says so insta-dismissable.

Neither liking nor disliking this show is proof that you are, or you are not, a true fan.

The haters are 100% entitled to Express their thoughts and to watch and hate, but their doing this does not make them "wrong," but nor does it exempt them from legitimate charges of cultural condescension displayed towards those who have the temerity to even slightly disagree with them (i.e., Jammer)
Chrome
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks

I agree, context is definitely important. When Data swore it sounded stupid, but mostly because it's Data, and the whole thing was played as a gag. When Bones or Kirk swears, it's classic because it comes natural to the characters.

I think the violence here was acceptable mostly because it was cartoonish. The guts and heads looked like props and there weren't realistic blood spills you'd expect in a rated-R movie. It's more violent than Berman-era Trek, sure, but daytime television also placed huge creative restrictions on show leading to stinkers like the aforementioned TTD, as well as other weirdly censored episodes like "Let He Is Without Sin" and "A Night in Sickbay".
Furby
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
I'm not sure if I was just bored, but the cinematography felt horrible in this episode. Far too much shaky-cam, and the fight scene had stroke lights for no good reason except to make it harder to follow.
Hank
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
Wow, everybody seems to agree for once? Well, I am agreeing too, this episode was utterly pointless. I just love the backtracking: "Nono, now our Klingons DO have hair, and yes, they ARE using the D7!" .... which they were shown to possess as early as Enterprise, but shhhh ...

"Call me something fiercer - call me ... MOTHER!" Uuuugh ... the pain ... Did they read that Angela Merkel is (mockingly) called "Mutti" (=Mami) and thought: "Man, thats fierce as fuck, yo?" Man, seriously creepy ... And all that, dead babies and everything, just so that they can plug their Georgiou Section 31 series. And of course, Georgiou can just appear everywhere and murder everybody. At first I thought she was the Red Angel, but no... If the Federation can just plant puppet rulers whenever and wherever they please, why was there a war in the first place? Oh well, whatever.

"Extreme emapthy deficit" - of course, because last episode we learned that Michael was supposed to teach Spock empathy, no wonder he had ZERO left after she talked to him in whispers for years on end with exactly two facial expressions. I was loudly groaning at my screen. Poor Spock. And what the hell was with her weir grin when she told Tilly that she is not going insane? Michael looked unhinged there, or was that supposed to show empathy? No wait, that was the "infinite well of compassion", that was slightly overflowing and drowing her nerve endings...

All in all, this just felt empty. There is just nothing there to talk about in earnest. I can not for the life of me see a group of Klingons shouting "Mutti!" in elation, directed at a woman they apparently all hate, and women aren't allowed in the first place - wait! Now it all makes sense. Klingon society was totally egalitarian - until L'Rell came along and fucked everything up, so they forbade women forever. It all makes sense now! The writers are playing 6D transdimensional chess here! They just pretend to not know canon, but they are masters of canon! And that bomb, that everybody seems to have forgotten, that was actually planted in Praxis, because the Klingons switched the names of moon and planet around some time after Discovery, so it can later cause the explosion of Praxis in Star Trek VI! PRAXIS WAS AN INSIDE JOB! SPORE DRIVES CAN NOT MELT KLINGON MOONS! WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

Oh, did anybody else notice the complete and utter idiocy of calling that asteroid "dark matter"? The whole point of dark matter is that it is invisible to electro-magnetic radiation, and does not clump like normal matter - yet here we have a chunk of it which is clearly visible to the naked eye. Yay! Oh, and there was an Enterprise episode about dark matter as well, depicting it far more realistically.
Hank
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 2:10pm (UTC -6)
@HaightAsh: Hahahahahaha :D Swearing in yiddish is still swearing. And "cultural condescension"? Whats that even supposed to mean? And just look at people like Artymiss: She was one of the people who really fought for discovery, and now she doesn't like it, is she just some old-ass "Miss Bigshot" whining moaner? Just do yourself a favour, don't start this argument, we've had it enough times, and stop calling people names. It is never helpful.
Booming
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
Let He Is Without Sin" and "A Night in Sickbay" were censored???

Artymiss
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 2:28pm (UTC -6)
@HaightAsh

Okay then, you go ahead and tell us in what ways this episode is so wonderful and prove to the rest of us just why are critical faculties are so faulty and 'condescending'. Write a review and convince us of what we missed. Why did you think it was good?
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome

Wait, A Night in Sickbay was censored?! How, why?!

(Yes the decapitated heads were very cartoonish, the baby in particular was fake looking. I find Discovery usually treads just on the right side of acceptable in what it shows for me at least. I'm notoriously squeamish and slightly prudish and it seems okay to me. The only thing I took exception to seeing was the snapping of poor Hugh's neck).
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
Oh for an edit button!

Correction - 'our critical faculties'
Hank
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
@Artymiss: Regarding violence on Discovery: For me personally, it is not a matter of absolute degree of violence, but of the thing that Star Trek is supposed to be. It just feels out of place here, and yes, there are previous instances where Trek has shown blood (Unidscovered Country) and disfigurement (every second Voyager episode had some horrible illness), but this style of "gore" just doesn't lend itself well to Trek. It is just there for visual spectacle, it has no real meaning behind it. Star Trek of the past was mostly allegorical or metaphorical - even the violence was just stylized, much like in an Opera, because it was the bigger picture that counted, which does not seem to be the case anymore.
William D Wehrs
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
For me, when it comes to violence it's a question of whether it's earned. For example, siege of ARR-588 is a brutal war story,so the violence felt earned. For Discovery, its too often like let's have blood spurts because we can rather than it being in service of the story.
wolfstar
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 3:33pm (UTC -6)
Exactly.
Hank
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
@William: Yes, that puts it more concisely. Discovery just escalates the violence randomly. There is no buildup, one scene Tilly is talking to fast and everybody stares in awkward silence, next scene we have Klingons exploding into gore, entrails on the floor and dead babies in a planter. And the next scene is "Look at us, we are the Federation, we are so awesome! We are amazing!" It is just tone deaf. After the Siege of ARR-588, Nog lost his leg and got a whole arc showing his recovery process. There was an actual reason to show violence in the first place.
William D Wehrs
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
@Hank. Yep. For all the talk of how Discovery is a new form of Trek storytelling since it is more serialized than any before, the show is horrible at actually exploring consequences of things. For example, during this whole episode of Klingon politics, no one mentions the huge literal bomb underneath the planet's core.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
Did you all enjoy the exploding head in "Conspiracy"? I don't know if it was "earned", but it was certainly a great cathartic moment in a great action schlock episode of TNG.
William D Wehrs
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome I would argue it was earned somewhat, as it was the main villain of the show and had caused a lot of damage. That's quite different from seeing random characters get blown into bloody bits for no discernible reason. Now to be fair, Discovery is not the only Trek property that I felt went over the line. The scene in First Contact where the Borg Queen loses her skin was even more distasteful.
Hank
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome: I found it funny, because it was so hilariously out of place/character, and so badly done. I would have minded if it was a recurring occurrence, and not a one off glitch.

@William: As for the Borg Queen's death: Nah, didn't mind that very much. It was just a few seconds, no blood, and the Borg kinda justify extreme measures.

Anyways, that is all still orders of magnitudes different from what Discovery has done so far.

Oh, and regarding your previous post, and the bomb: I got a theory about that a few posts up (in jest, of course).
wolfstar
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
It worked in context, because the episode was a genre exercise in 80s horror and spent 45 minutes building up to it. It was there to shock, not to titillate. I'd argue there's a difference. At the same time, I believe the BBC was correct to edit it out in the UK and personally I probably prefer the edited version. That whole episode is an anomaly - a great one, but an anomaly.
Tim C
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:03pm (UTC -6)
@Trent:

"...but an audience of addicts which biologically seeks increasing harder hards and higher highs... they're on the same hedonic treadmill they've always been on, zombie junkies looking for that next biochemical fix... Regardless, Trek's at its best when veering away from fads and when functioning as a metaphorical, allegorical, pseudo-stage play."

Holy shit, dude. Are you a science fiction television watcher, or a fire-and-brimstone evangelical TV preacher charlatan, praying for us all to find salvation?

Like honestly, where do we even start? Gritty does *not* always equal cartoonish in another generation, and what a silly strawman for you to even put out there. I can name a whole string of old action and sci-fi movies whose action and violence still feels appropriately visceral viewing even today. You could too if you tried.

Do you really think that realistically depicting the impact of a Klingon stabbing weapon, or a couple of severed heads in a storyline set on the homeworld of a warrior race known for their bloodlust and rituals featuring such delights as "pain sticks", is a "fad"? That's not a fad. It's exactly what the story calls for. The fact that it wasn't sanitised to protect the sensibilities of some aging moral police on the Internet does not mean it's inherently bad.

Your Logical Fallacy is: No True Scotsman
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/no-true-scotsman
BRiAN
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:10pm (UTC -6)
ugh this one was really rough again.....

Its been pointed out already but focusing on any one of these plots would have been fine and could have been star trekky. Instead we are left with a lot of nothing.

I guess they are going for a game of thrones thing. With all of the violence they must be. However Game of Thrones is really just an adaptation of a book to a mini series. It has the benefit of being (mostly) written already. Trying to copy their playbook in an original tv show is just... arrogant. And kind of silly. Also GOT employs thematic tricks to make their episodes coherent and feel like a single ep. This had none of that.

Well my hopes of the show course correcting are mostly dashed. Ill continue to struggle onward with the shiw for some reason even i cant understand
Booming
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
The violence actually didn't bother me that much. That's what Klingon high politics would probably look like. A giant guts and heads tornado.
When I think back to the boarding of the bridge of DS9 by the Klingons when in the end Kira had a little wound and Miles a slight head injury while 50 dead Klingons were lying around. They should be knee deep in blood. War isn't pretty.
And let's not forget. They weren't real heads in Discovery :)
Oh and the Empress... man Section 31 thoughtprocess: You know who would be great for one of our most important missions? That crazy mass murdering empress. Give her a crew and a super modern ship! What could go wrong?! *play mission impossible soundtrack*


Tim C
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:18pm (UTC -6)
@Hank

"Star Trek of the past was mostly allegorical or metaphorical - even the violence was just stylized, much like in an Opera, because it was the bigger picture that counted, which does not seem to be the case anymore."

No, that is *not* why the violence was stylised and watered down. That was purely a calculation made as to what the shows and movies of the time could get away with. Someone else has already brought up the case of "To The Death" from DS9, which was censored and lost a great deal of its potential oomph because of it.

If you want some great reading, get Marc Cushman's "These Are The Voyages" books, which go in-depth behind-the-scenes on TOS and the notes that Roddenberry, Justman and other producers would write to each other about just what exactly they would be able to get away with on TV. (Spoiler alert: Roddenberry wanted a lot more sex!)

Let me ask you: what is Star Trek?

Is it high concept science fiction? (The Immunity Syndrome, Cause And Effect, Visionary, Blink Of An Eye, Observer Effect)

Is it philosophical character study? (Journey To Babel, The Inner Light, In The Pale Moonlight, Latent Image, Vanishing Point)

Is it Star Wars-style swashbuckling adventure? (The Doomsday Machine, Starship Mine, The Sword Of Kahless, Macrocosm, Borderland)

Is it comedy? (The Trouble With Tribbles, A Fistful Of Datas, In The Cards, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, A Night In Sickbay)

My point, which I hope you've gathered by now, is that this universe is big enough to encompass a wide variety of different stories, and insisting that unless it fits the sensibilities of a particular era of pop culture (the early 90's, usually) it's not really "Star Trek" is just gatekeeping and not a particularly valid argument as to the merits of Discovery.
LongTimeTrekkie
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:32pm (UTC -6)
I'm just confused.

Maybe that makes me stupid. Or a wimp.

But there's too many characters, too many plots, too many cameras moving in too many directions. I found myself checking my email and Facebook during the episode.

Please, please, please writers, give us something coherent. :(
Hank
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 6:45pm (UTC -6)
@Tim C:
There are different shows for different niches. Star Trek has its niche, and you could watch it with your kids (until now). Vikings also has it niche, and I like that show, and they show violence on a whole different level. But because one show does this, another doesn't have to, and I can dislike that, can't I? If I want to listen to Cannibal Corpse, I am not bying a Wagner record. But if Cannibal Corpse now starts to only do 16 hour opera cycles, I can rightly say that "That ain't Cannibal Corpse anymore!" Because it is Wagner in disguise. I happen to really like Wagner. Doesn't mean that I don't want my Cannibal Corpse to sound like Cannibal Corpse. Same goes for Star Trek. Sure, maybe Gene Roddenberry wanted to create an ultra-brutal pornographic fuckfest - but he didn't. He created a cerebral, low violence show, which I happen to like. Does not mean that it has to stay the same forever, or that it is allowed to only tell certain stories, but if you take a hammer, melt it down, and make a saw out of it, it just ain't a hammer anymore. Sure, a saw is very useful, but you can not hit nails with it. If you made an axe instead, I might still be happy, because you can still hammer with it.

And, all those comparisons aside, that wasn't even my main point. My main point was that violence has to serve some purpose, otherwise its just fanservice, or gore-porn. Discoveries violence, even when viewed in isolation, is bad because it has no impact whatsoever. Neither on the characters, nor on me. I couldn't care less if a million Klingons exploded next episode, if rivers of blood flooded the Discovery, and everybody had an Event Horizon like snuff sex orgy, because it is all meaningless. The stories are a jumbled mess, and the violence is just there to "spice it up", to give some instant gratification. Same reason we have ultra-expensive special effects, with a million things on the screen. It is made to impress, and I am everything but. It is there to cover up all the flaws this show has, and to appeal to modern tastes, and I see right through it, and thats why its bad. And yes, Tylers storyline revolved around his traumatic, violent experiences. But that story sucked, and was itself pointless, so the violence was pointless as well.

Discovery is a bad show, and an especially bad Star Trek show, and yes, I do reserve the right to make that value judgement, or "Gatekeep" like you call it, because value judgements are what life is ultimately about. Take bread, for example. If somebody comes along an puts saw dust in your bread, that ain't real bread anymore. But if everybody would just go along and say "Ah well, it is just a new kind of bread!" we would be forced to eat shitty fake bread for the rest of our lifes. I am not a prude, nor am I against violence, I happen to like both a lot, but I know tasteless, shitty sawdust bread when I see it. I am not mad at you, by the way, I just like really polemic rhethoric.
Tim C
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
I'm getting super tired of going round and round the same points, Hank, so I'll keep this last reply brief and just address a couple of your points:

"There are different shows for different niches. Star Trek has its niche"

I *just* gave you four different broad categories that Star Trek can fit into, Hank, with real-world examples of how flexible the universe is. You don't get to pigeonhole six TV shows and thirteen movies into the same spot just because you say that's how it is; it's just ridiculous on the face of it. Stylistically speaking, TOS is an obviously different show from TNG, and TNG is an obviously different show from Enterprise.

"and you could watch it with your kids (until now)"

By your standards perhaps Hank, but as a kid I was watching far more adult material than Discovery (under my parents supervision and approval). All this hand-wringing over a bit of blood and some Klingon boobs is just sad. Helen Lovejoy would approve though.

"Discoveries violence, even when viewed in isolation, is bad because it has no impact whatsoever. Neither on the characters... And yes, Tylers storyline revolved around his traumatic, violent experiences."

Next time you're going to completely undermine your own point with a real-world example, could you at least keep it short? That was a really long paragraph.

"Discovery is a bad show, and an especially bad Star Trek show"

And so said a bunch of disgruntled nerds back when TNG first aired. We've all seen this bitching before and it's just as tiresome now as it was then.
William D Wehrs
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
@Hank and @Tim C. I see where both of you are coming from. It's true that Trek has many different variations and to say that something has to be a certain way to be Star Trek is problematic. At the same time, it is true Discovery is stooping to a more sensationalistic level of violence than Trek has ever seen. Ultimately, however, I think the biggest problem isn't the violence, it's the feeling by many that the violence is symptomatic of a much bigger problem, that being Discovery is so concerned with flash and noise, or in this case gore, that it is losing interest in characters. For example, how much more interesting would it have been if we'd seen L'Rell and Voq/Tyler come up with a cunning strategy to defeat the baby captors than just stabbing them. The show is so concerned with being "cool" that it is losing track of being smart. Now, having said all of of that, I don't think Discovery is unique in this regard, but rather a symptom of a broader trend that dates back to Voyager which began to resolve its plots with action an inordinate amount of by time. Then, we got the the reboot trilogy, all of which were much more action heavy than intellect heavy. In my opinion, it's unfortunate that that's the direction Trek is heading, but Discovery is not the first Trek to do this.
Hank
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
@Tim C: And I am growing tired of constantly being accused of being a bitching, handwringing moral busybody and disgruntled nerd, without you understanding what I am actually saying.

"I *just* gave you four different broad categories that Star Trek can fit into,"
Yes, all examples of storylines, not tone. Now, to your "style" argument: Wagner, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mendelsohn, Schubert, Vivaldi, Cannibal Corpse. Do you get my point now?

"By your standards perhaps Hank"
Yes, which are called common sense. I'd rather not give an eight or ten year old kid nightmares because people are disembolwed and baby heads are thrown around. And I never said a single word about boobs. You are just under the illusion that I am a moral busybody, and are out to prove a point. Sad!

"Next time you're going to completely undermine your own point"
I am not, though. My point was that the violence was pointless. The whole Tyler plotline was pointless. Hence the violence contained within it was pointless. Next time, try to quote all the relevant parts and actually understand whats written.

"We've all seen this bitching before and it's just as tiresome now as it was then. "
Apparently not tiresome enough for you to not drag me into a discussion about precisely that topic.

@William: Thanks, you at least get it. You are right, the dumbing down is not unique to Discovery, but it does reach new heights. I have to disagree on one point though:
"and to say that something has to be a certain way to be Star Trek is problematic"
No it is not. If a produced a snuff porn movie and called it "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Fisting" we would not be having an argument. It is just a matter of degree and where everybody draws the line. Which is the crux of this whole debate.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
------- "I *just* gave you four different broad categories that Star Trek can fit into,"
Yes, all examples of storylines, not tone. Now, to your "style" argument: Wagner, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mendelsohn, Schubert, Vivaldi, Cannibal Corpse. Do you get my point now?--------

Not sure of Tim gets it, I don't want to speak for him. But I am not sure that I get it.

Are you saying that Cannibal Corpse represents Cannibal Corpse, while all the others you mention represents the rest of Star Trek?

If so, I get it. It's an absurd statement. Discovery has plenty of elements (tone or style) found in other Treks, unless your requirements are rigidly limited to 2 or 3 expectations like "cerebral," "low violence" and "watchable with kids." And that would be fine, but those would be *your* requirements as a Trekkie not a general requirement for all Trekkies. Someone else's list may have 8, 10, or 15 of them and understand that all 15 may not be present in every episode of every reincarnation (in fact, it would be nearly impossible).

If not so, then I didn't get it. Please explain further.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
Geez, what a letdown after the first two episodes! First of all, the non-stop camera movements are whiplash-y and make an already overpacked episode even less enjoyable. This episode needed to be at least an hour (or more, two-parter), or drop at least one of the storylines to give the others room to breathe a bit. AS to why they cannot make it an hour, I have no idea. Isn't that one of the advantages of streaming?

The trouble with this, is that even if the storylines have interesting tidbits in them, they get lost or remained unexplored due to the train-wreck race to the end of the episode. For example, Ash-L'Rell story could have been built so much better if it were an episode by itself. Ash's conflict would have been better developed, the interaction between houses would have been expanded, the introduction of the new ship, and Section 31 and Georgiou could have been sold better to the audience. But nope! It's flattened and crushed into a total of... 10 minutes?!?!

I'll wait for Jammer's review, but this one goes into the "fail" category for me.
Brian
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:11am (UTC -6)
1 star. For me, the worst failure in this season is how much time they devote to the burnham/spock sub-plot, yet they devote virtually no actual SCREEN time to it. The entire story is told through exposition, and in the past tense no less. The entirety of the spock plot has been told to us by either Michael Burnham, Sarek, or Pike, while standing around in a room on the Discovery. Is anyone surprised that this plot thread is whithering on the vine? By the time the payoff comes, everyone will be in kitchen grabbing a drink or checking their email because we know we aren't missing much more than a poorly cobbled together exposition piece.

This episode proves to me that the showrunners and writers are in desperation mode. They don't know what the show is, or what it should be about. Their repertoire of ideas is increasingly narrow, falling back on the tired themes from season 1. Instead of letting us get to know the crew of the Discovery, we are forced through these long, expository fantasies inevitably propelling us from one plot point to the next, one streaming session to the next. As a result the Discovery set feels more cardboard than the TOS enterprise ever did.

Giving the Klingons hair again did nothing to solve the problem of how STD Klingons don't feel like Klingons at all. Their scenes were needlessly complicated, and poorly scripted.

Georgiou is back and felt shoe-horned in. Big surprise.

The camera work continues to be amateur hack job quality.

Someone said STD is "bad art". I will go further and say that it is not even art at all. It's just spectacle.

Also, consider this--the reason episodic Trek worked so well is that's how WE experience our lives. Each day unfolds in a new way, with new challenges, we try our best to solve them, and then at the end of the day we all go to sleep and wake up and try again. The clock really does reset every day. And WE experience each day from our own, present-tense perspective.

Even REAL LIFE isn't this serialized. STD is serialization put on a pedestal and worshipped for its own sake and that will be its undoing. I can say with 100% certainty now--these episodes that are solely concerned with pushing the serialized plot points forward, are BORING and actually drag the show into the ground. I hoped they would learn from season 1 but it appears they have not.

Steve
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 2:12am (UTC -6)
The biggest crime of this episode was its just boring. It felt like they tried to cram three episodes into one.

The best episodes are the ones that mostly focus on one plot point. For example, the previous episode was slower in pace and because of that we actually got to know the crew a bit more.

The best episode of trek so far this year was actually on Orville episode ("Home")
Maq
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 2:54am (UTC -6)
This was not good. I agree with most of the commentators so far. Last episode was very refreshing this was just confusing and boring. I count to 5 different themes Burnham-Red-Angel-Spock / Bridge crew /Tilly /Klingon / Georgiou Section 31. The character Amanda is interesting and I like her. The Tilly story is just confusing. The return of the Emperor in section 31. The Bridge crew scenes where well played. But please remove the fish from the disc(h/o). The Klingon intrigue is also very inconsistent and strange. To many ingredients.
Booming
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 3:09am (UTC -6)
@Steve: The last episode had an A and a B plot which were interconnected. Here we have three B plots who are not. Almost like three shorts. And in all three it is mostly wheel spinning and exposition dump.
Klingon story: The only real thing happening is T/V leaving Qonos. Apartfrom that we find out that L'rell has problems holding on to power (which we knew already. She literally holds the planet hostage)
Spock story: Nothing happens. We just find out that Spock could be a violent murderer (which is almost certainly not the case; Probably some Section 31 shenanigans) and that Michael and Spock have a problem (which we already knew). Now we know a little bit more about it.
Tilly story: Here we find out that the ghost? is real (we all knew that Tilly wasn't crazy and that the ghost must be connected to the mushroom). The only thing accomplished here is that they get it out.

Oh and because nobody said it:
R.I.P. viewing screen. You maybe flat but to us you were always deep...

From now on it is all hologram.
Stargazer
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 3:50am (UTC -6)
This used to be a pretty good community in the past. It's a shame that it's been hijacked by people pissing all over a great, modern show because it's not white enough, not male enough and not slow enough for them, as it was in 1986.

Trek had always lots of violence. Singling this show out, that is no more or less violent than pretty much any other show on TV right now, is hypocritical.

Attacking storylines that haven't been completed is hypocritical. Modern storytelling is serialized. Do you also critizise War & Peace because you dislike page 28?

It's also interesting how most of the complaints about actors or characters (Burnham is wooden, Tilly is annoying, Georgiou doesn't fit into Trek, Amanda seems too young) focusses on women and women of color. And spare me your explanations, because nobody believes in your lies.

This is the most succesful relaunch of Star Trek since TNG: Look at the Rotten Tomatos critics ratings. The overwhelming majority loves this show. It's a shame that we can't discuss it here because this website has been taken over by the 2 or 3 percent of haters who cannot get over the fact that Trek does not cater exclusively to them anymore. Them and their outdated beliefs in what TV should be like.

It's pathetic.
STD
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 5:33am (UTC -6)
I ENJOYED MORE having diarrhea, after eating a bean burrito. Then finding out my butt has worms in it.......Than watching this stupid POS episode
Tim C
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 6:03am (UTC -6)
@William D Wehrs

"Ultimately, however, I think the biggest problem isn't the violence, it's the feeling by many that the violence is symptomatic of a much bigger problem, that being Discovery is so concerned with flash and noise, or in this case gore, that it is losing interest in characters."

Now, there's a discussion that's actually worth having! And it's a point of view that I'm on board with. This show thus far has been leaning far harder in the action-adventure direction than some its predecessors. It is doing a much better job of it, though, in my opinion: remember what Jammer used to call the Voyager Action Insert™, where they would insert sixty seconds of pointless phaser firing into an otherwise unrelated episode, seemingly just so UPN marketers would have something to put in their promos?

How much of Discovery being such an action and plot-oriented show is a symptom of (1) executive direction, (2) creative decision-making, and (3) just the modern blockbuster-TV bandwagon, is up for debate.

But one lesson that we have definitely learned from the past, I think, is that people will get bored with Trek if it doesn't continually refresh itself: witness the declining ratings of DS9, Voyager, and finally poor unloved Enterprise. All produced largely by the same production teams in very similar styles. Berman and Braga tried very hard to course correct with Enterprise: by season 3 we were seeing the music let off the leash, more dynamic filming styles, "edgier" plots etc. But by then it was too little too late and people had moved on.

It is smart for Discovery to distinguish itself from the last era of TV Trek. Bold stylistic choices, some controversial canon meddling and modern approaches to storytelling weren't just to be expected from this show, they're practically essential if we want to have another successful run of our favourite universe.

Let's not forget, we have the new Picard show on the way soon too, and by all reports it's going to be very different in style to Discovery. Which is perfect: who knows how Voyager and DS9 would have done airing side-by-side if they hadn't felt in so many ways like the same show?

Voyager's biggest problem was trying to be TNG-lite, and then Enterprise fatally wounded itself by becoming Voyager-lite for awhile. That "copy of a copy of a copy" approach is not long-term sustainable. This new approach might be: Discovery can be our action show. Picard can be our philosophy show. Lower Decks can be our comedy. Etc. With modern shows frequently having short seasons of ten episodes or less, the old enemble-cast approach where every character gets a couple of episodes a season is not particularly viable anyway.

But they'll all be Star Trek.
wolfstar
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 7:01am (UTC -6)
"This used to be a pretty good community in the past. It's a shame that it's been hijacked by people pissing all over a great, modern show because it's not white enough, not male enough and not slow enough for them, as it was in 1986."

Stargazer, you'll probably find that the favorite Trek series of most people criticizing Discovery here is DS9 – the least white, least American and least superficially Trekkian of the series.

"It's also interesting how most of the complaints about actors or characters focusses on women and women of color. And spare me your explanations, because nobody believes in your lies."

This is another straw man argument... I know for a fact that some of the people critizing Discovery here are women and gay men, and I'm pretty sure we have non-white commenters too. Female and non-white characters are some of the most beloved and celebrated Trek characters, from Uhura, Sulu and Chekov to Geordi, Worf, Guinan, Sisko, Kira, Seven, B'Elanna, etc etc. Most of the people who are critical of Discovery love these wonderfully played and richly drawn characters.

"This is the most succesful relaunch of Star Trek since TNG: Look at the Rotten Tomatos critics ratings. The overwhelming majority loves this show."

The critical comments on this thread aren't necessarily from Discovery "haters" – a lot of them are by people who enjoyed the previous two episodes or who were supportive of the show in S1. I myself have been pretty critical of Discovery but I had a lot of praise for the pilot, Into The Forest I Go, The Wolf Inside and The War Within, all of which I enjoyed and thought were well-written.

"It's a shame that we can't discuss it here because this website has been taken over by the 2 or 3 percent of haters who cannot get over the fact that Trek does not cater exclusively to them anymore."

We can – please do! I agree that we need to here more from people who are fans of Discovery. As the thread for this particular episode is so negative, it's even more important to hear from people like yourself who enjoyed it. So instead of attacking the other commenters using ad hominem arguments, tell us what you like about the show and this episode – maybe you'll be able to sell some people on the show's merits and win them over to your point of view! :)
Maq
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 7:11am (UTC -6)
@Stargazer

"It's a shame that it's been hijacked by people pissing all over a great, modern show because it's not white enough, not male enough and not slow enough for them, as it was in 1986."

Although belonging to the generation who grew up with TOS I do not mind the diversity (except the fish an the other Star wars characters on the bridge that used to work on bars in Star Wars).

They rather it open up possibilities. But these possibilities was not used here. But a lot of these old traditionalist seems also like me to miss the old art of the story telling.

Even if story telling today seems to be much more complex, this episode was a mess. I also more or less liked the episodes 3 - 9 and the two last. The mirror universe was "to much".

The way violence is showed nowadays is completely different. I also really hope and believe that a 7-8 year old child have another perception towards cut of heads than I had in my TV childhood.

But such scenes are not necessary.

I would prefer a long theme but back to the more anthology like episodes.




Booming
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 7:44am (UTC -6)
@Stargazer: As wolfstar mentioned the most beloved show is DS9 (I think) and they had my favorite female character (Kira) with a lot of development. Sisko and Jake were black. Nurse Ratchet (Kai) was a great adversary (for the most part). And even though Terry Farrell is a less sexualised Jeri Ryan (model to actor) she had a lot of good stories. And I'm certainly in the minority here but I liked Sisko the most, while I admit that Patrick Stewart is the best actor but we didn't really learn much about him apart from a very episodes. Chirroc Lofton was good, too. Alexander Siddig is arabic (Siddig el Fadil).
"Attacking storylines that haven't been completed is hypocritical. Modern storytelling is serialized. Do you also critizise War & Peace because you dislike page 28?" That is obviously a strange view. I can decide on the quality of War and Peace after 28 pages. Even when I don't know where it goes. For example, if Seth Macfarlane would write a book I would know after 28 pages that it is garbage (which it certainly would be!!).
"It's also interesting how most of the complaints about actors or characters (Burnham is wooden, Tilly is annoying, Georgiou doesn't fit into Trek, Amanda seems too young) focusses on women and women of color. And spare me your explanations, because nobody believes in your lies."
Hey, hey ,hey. I'm the thought police here! And I can honestly say that I didn't see any patterns concerning the general participants.
Burnham is pretty wodden. Is that because she plays it Vulcan-style or because she isn't a great actor. I don't know.
I like Tilly. A little much this season on the comic relief stuff but she can certainly act. Her being distraught in front of Burnham was a scene that really moved me which is especially noteworthy because at that point I started to tune out.
And about the men: Jason Isaacs is a very good actor. The guy that plays Stamets is really good, too (even though he looks good so I might be biased here). And if the new Pike has any standing power. So far I'm not so sure that we all just like him because he feels like Trek. And the killed off Doctor was probably the weakest of the men when it comes to acting or role.
whoho so much. I'm not finished but I'll end it here.
William D Wehrs
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 8:19am (UTC -6)
" if they hadn't felt in so many ways like the same show?" @TimC Wait are you saying that Voyager and DS9 felt like the same show? I have to respectfully disagree there. DS9 was had vastly different characters than Voyagers, and vastly different plots as well.
@Stargazer "This used to be a pretty good community in the past. It's a shame that it's been hijacked by people pissing all over a great, modern show because it's not white enough, not male enough and not slow enough for them, as it was in 1986."
Who on this forum has criticized this show for those reasons? I haven't seen any complaints in regards to the first two categories, and since when has wanting the show to take its time and invest in characters been a bad thing?

"Trek had always lots of violence. Singling this show out, that is no more or less violent than pretty much any other show on TV right now, is hypocritical." See my prior points about why this violence feels different.

"Attacking storylines that haven't been completed is hypocritical. Modern storytelling is serialized. Do you also critizise War & Peace because you dislike page 28?"
Well, true, but we have to evaluate the storylines in some way, or would you suggest we just reserve our judgment until the show wraps up in its entirity whenever that might be? Incidentally, I do somewhat agree with you which is why I think it would be a smart business decision of Discovery to release its season all at once, so that people can discuss the show with virture of having seen the whole season.

"It's also interesting how most of the complaints about actors or characters (Burnham is wooden, Tilly is annoying, Georgiou doesn't fit into Trek, Amanda seems too young) focusses on women and women of color. And spare me your explanations, because nobody believes in your lies."
Well I know you said you didn't want an explanation, but I would argue that each of those characters is somewhat problematic and to just accept them based on the virute of their sex would also be sexist. Also, I know a lot of fans wanted a spinoff with Georgiou from the normal universe, only to be disappointed they went with the mirror universe character who is just evil. Doesn't that suggest an interest in character, rather than blanket sexism?

"This is the most succesful relaunch of Star Trek since TNG: Look at the Rotten Tomatos critics ratings. The overwhelming majority loves this show. It's a shame that we can't discuss it here because this website has been taken over by the 2 or 3 percent of haters who cannot get over the fact that Trek does not cater exclusively to them anymore. Them and their outdated beliefs in what TV should be like." And good for the people who like it. I urge them to come here to share why. Different opinions is good.

"It's pathetic." I would respectfully disagree. Critiquing a show and expressing one's opinion on something is perfectly healthy as long as there are not undue attacks on others.
Hank
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 8:26am (UTC -6)
@Mertov: Yes, you basically get it. Keep in mind, I only elaborated on a few things that I dislike in Discovery, the categories are not that rigid, and can be expanded almost indefinitely. And of course, everything I post is my personal view, as I said, the discussion is about degrees of difference, not absolute "If it does not have this, it is not that".

To explain my analogy: You can find a lot of things that Cannibal Corpse has in common with the rest of the people I listed. They all use the western music system, they can all be written as sheet music, they play arpeggios, dissonant chords, melodies, even the themes are somewhat interchangeable. Wagners Ring Cycle has plenty of rape, murder, abduction, betrayal, incest, more rape... Both classical musicians and Cannibal Corpse tell stories in their music, express emotions, try to cope with personal matters ... You can argue that they are very similar to one another. You can even like both. But if you listen to them one after another, you will hear and feel the stark break from "Claire de Lune" to "Fucked with a Knife". And that is really my whole point. To claim that they ARE the same thing, is just wrong, in my opinion, even though they share countless similarities. And of course this whole thing is feelings based, not scientifically provable on any level, or absolutely true one way or another. I just express my own, personal, subjective and emotional point of view on the matter.

@Stargazer: "And spare me your explanations, because nobody believes in your lies."
Just go fuck yourself. Seriously. I am sick and tired of this shit. It is not our fault that this series chose to focus mostly on women and does them badly. Who else is there? Tyler? Completely unsympathetic, weak and inconsequential character. Saru? Yeah, he's decent. Lorca? Ruined by plot twist. Who else? Oh yeah, Culber and Stamets. Culber is dead, Stamets is allright. Thats IT. Those are all the male characters that get more than five seconds of screentime. Oh yeah, forgot Pike, he's allright so far too. Oh and Pseudo-Sarek. Who completely butchered that character. But he is a hu-white MALE, so we must LOOOOVE him. Fuck you.

Seriously, all those people complaining about us "haters", who then proceed to call us racists, misogynists, homophoes and white supremacists and all kind of shit, should not wonder why we are getting more and more pissed. We are not running around shouting: "Oh, you like Burnham, but only because she's black, you obviously hate white men and want to smash the patriarchy and probably shout "WHITE GENOCIDE TONIGHT!" on rallies, and don't try to deny it, because we know that you are lying you scumback piece of shit!"

You complain that civil discussion is not possible anymore, well, guess why? Because YOU stop being civil. Racism is not a willy-nilly insult like "wanker", yet you throw it around like candy and I AM taking offence to it. I don't care if you base everything on skin colour and gender, but don't project that shit onto us just because we happen to dislike YOUR golden calf. If you don't want us to critisize female or minority characters, then tell the writers to either do them well or only cast white man, so that YOU can be happy in your whites-only show. Jesus fucking christ. And WE are the people who keep getting called bitter. You owe us all a fucking apology, and you should reflect really hard on what you said, why you said it and if you actually want to go through life with that kind of attitude, and where it will eventually lead you.
Hank
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 8:42am (UTC -6)
And don't you DARE spinning this along the lines that I am outraged because I secretly AM a racist!
Artymiss
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 8:43am (UTC -6)
@stargazer

Why not post a positive review and tell us why you rate this episode? What are the rest of us missing?

Is it only okay for us to comment on Discovery to say: Discovery is brilliant, I love it!!! It's brilliant, everything about it is brilliant!!! And all the actors are wonderful! I loved this week's episode, it was brilliant!

I want to like Discovery I really do, I want it to be the best it can possibly be, I think it has lots of potential and so get frustrated when I'm presented with a mess like this week's episode.



Artymiss
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 8:55am (UTC -6)
@stargazer

Oh and IF (and I'm not sure they do) the comments revolve around female characters it's quite likely that this is because most of the plot focuses on the female characters. And these characters and actors aren't perfect therefore they get criticised. I don't see this pattern of racism and sexism you claim infects the comments section - please give us examples to back your claim up rather than making sweeping generalizations.
Henson
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 9:07am (UTC -6)
@Hank

I understand why you're upset, and I get that you feel the need to vent your frustration, but I don't think this kind of comment is helpful in a discussion. I find posting angry usually only serves to increase tensions online, and doesn't really solve any disputes. This site is supposed to be an enjoyable discussion, let's not put more fuel on the fire.

For contrast, I think wolfstar's comment above is a much better, admirable response: reasoned, charitable, and firmly in disagreement.
Booming
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 9:25am (UTC -6)
I think we have been trolled. Successfully.
And Hank. Wow, what a meltdown. Happens pretty frequently here now :D
Apart from that I'm in agreement with arty and Henson.
wolfstar
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 9:33am (UTC -6)
Thanks Henson. I get why Hank is angry though. A close friend of mine is a left-leaning, feminist mother of two daughters and a big Star Wars fan since childhood. She thought The Last Jedi was absolutely terrible and that it flew in the face of everything she knew and loved about Star Wars. The franchise is basically dead to her now. Yet the whole discourse around that film is that everyone who has a problem with it must be sexist, racist etc.. Again and again, things keep being reduced to identity as a way of shutting down any discussion. So in the discourse, everyone who was critical of the film for lots of legitimate reasons (like my friend, and to a lesser extent myself) is lumped in with the loud minority of actual racists and sexists. It's a false binary that alienates so many people. It's actually radicalizing, because if people are told enough times that "If you don't like X, then you must be a sexist/racist/homophobe etc.", they might eventually throw their hands in the air and say "Well maybe I am then" and actually start to positively identify with those labels. Demonizing everyone who dislikes something pushes away ordinary people and potential allies. I love DS9 but never in my wildest dreams would I think of saying to someone "If you don't like DS9, you must be a bad person", which is essentially what's happening now with things like Discovery and Star Wars. I blame social media for so much of it.
Henson
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 10:10am (UTC -6)
@wolfstar

Oh, I don't disagree! I definitely see the same trends, and I have no problem with discussing those things on this site in relation to science fiction. But much like the people of the Federation, we should strive to be better people, even when those who disagree with us stumble in being better themselves. I thought stargazer's comment was, unfortunately, a bit judgemental and vitriolic. But being judgemental and vitriolic in response doesn't usually help, in my experience. I'd rather just talk and listen/read; that's why we're here, after all!

"Demonizing everyone who dislikes something pushes away ordinary people and potential allies." You know, CounterArguments just recently made a video on YouTube about this, too. Worth a watch.

On the subject of demonization: do you think this trend is due to people in general becoming less tolerant of opposing viewpoints, or due to the less tolerant opinions becoming more visible and/or vocal in an increasingly connected world?
Mertov
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 10:31am (UTC -6)
"To claim that they ARE the same thing, is just wrong, in my opinion, even though they share countless similarities. And of course this whole thing is feelings based, not scientifically provable on any level, or absolutely true one way or another. I just express my own, personal, subjective and emotional point of view on the matter."

If by your first sentence, you are implying (or saying) that "Discovery is not Star Trek, but the rest are," that's absurd, and that was my point in my post. And no they should not be the same thing (in the general sense) either. If DSC was a rehash of one older series (or more than one of them), I would then not watch it. There are hundreds of episodes available on Netflix if I want to do to that. That was one of the reasons why I liked Voyager a lot less than DS9, for example, because a lot of it was rehash of TOS and TNG.

But they are all Star Trek (to steal a sentence from someone above).
Jammer
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 10:46am (UTC -6)
Hank, I realize you're upset with the sweeping generalizations of the silly comment you are replying to, but I am going to ask you to abstain from profane personal attacks like that. That's not behavior I condone on this board. Thanks.
William D Wehrs
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 10:57am (UTC -6)
@Wolfstar

Thank you! I am very liberal and a huge feminist, who hates TLJ and Discovery. It bothers me considerably that there is a prevailing attitude if one dislikes those things, then one must be a misogynistic neo-nazi. We must not let extremists on either side drive the discourse on things like Star Trek or Star Wars. As Picard once said "When one has been angry for a very long time, one gets used to it. And it becomes comfortable, like... like old leather. And finally... becomes so familiar that one can't ever remember feeling any other way." Let's not let that happen.
wolfstar
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 11:01am (UTC -6)
Completely agree, Henson. Thanks, I'll check the video out.

I think it's the product of an atomised society. We're more isolated than ever (so people feel greater need to belong, hence the formation of tribes) and we interact with each other through screens more than ever – screens which strip away things like body language, tone of voice, gesture, facial expression, which are all hugely important parts of communication. I think so much online beef is the product of the medium – if people with different viewpoints were instead able to get together and discuss an issue over a beer or coffee in good faith, I think they'd at least be able to appreciate better where the other is coming from, and at leat appreciate and perceive each other as human beings, even if they don't agree on everything. The problem is that we're increasingly connected in a way that makes us increasingly disconnected. When you can order all your groceries online and stream films through your TV, you don't need to go out into your local community anymore to the supermarket, town center, video store etc. It's a synergistic effect – the more we've lost traditional sources of belonging and identity in our local communities (the decline of religion, traditional industries, town centers etc.), the more people turn to online to find them instead, and the more people get all their needs met online, the more atrophied our real-world societies become.
Henson
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 11:10am (UTC -6)
@wolfstar

Good stuff. I think there's a Star Trek episode in that...
Hank
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 11:14am (UTC -6)
Thanks, wolfstar, you are exactly right. We've had this discussion many times, and we have tried being civil over and over and over againt, and I frankly see no point in it anymore. I could have written a thousand word response detailing all my reasons, and it would just have been dismissed anyways (he already said he would do that). Maybe the problem is that we were too civil all along, and too forgiving. Maybe being angry isn't helpful, but so far, being civil has proven to not be helpful either, so it really doesn't matter.

I am legitimately angry. I am not faux-outraged over it. I am angry at this constant, endless accusation game. It is not a discussion, just like starting by saying "well, you are a cunt" is not an argument, and I honestly don't see why we should have a civil discussion with people who have only insults as arguments. It's not like Stargazer is stupid, or doesn't know how to behave, he purposefully chose to ignore the rules of engagement. And it doesn't matter if he is just trolling. I am tired of crybullies. You don't get to cry about uncivility if you can only shout "RACIST! MISOGYNIST! HOMOPHOBE!" over and over again. Maybe we should be the bigger persons. But I've got a short temper, and I tried that over and over again, to no avail. Maybe I am not the problem here at all. Maybe Stargazer should have been the bigger person to begin with.

@Henson: I think the problem is the internet itself. In reality, you get to see when you upset another person, and how the crowd reacts to your scornful accusations. On the internet, you just see whatever you want in every person you have a conversation with. It's perfectly demonstrated here: Stargazer wants everybody to be a racist, so he acts like everybody is. Evidence to the contrary is dismissed, as everybody on the internet is just a persona anyways; nobody can see behind the screen, and there are no consequences to what you have to say. Which is in a sense why the internet is great: You can express yourself unfiltered, and in turn, learn something about yourself.

At the same time, people like pleasure. It is far more pleasurable for me to agree with wolfstar, than to disagree with Booming (as we did over that past few days), so the most pleasing thing would be to surround myself with wolfstar and other people who agree with us than to go through the tedious process of arguing with Booming. Thats also precisely what you don't want to do, as your biases and convictions never get questioned. You cement your own point of view and dismiss the opposition first as wrong, then as idiots, and finally as the devil himself. Thats the reason for diminished tolerance.

At the same time, our times are polarized to a large degree. People who should be role models (or shouldn't be, but are used as those anyways) constantly behave like there is only good and evil, and you are either for us or against us. We are constantly told that the end times are near. On one side of the spectrum, radical feminism and muslims threaten to destroy the western world, on the other side, national socialists and racists are on the cusp of taking over. If you take the middle ground position, you have to defend your point of view against both sides, so most people just shut up and leave the discussion to the fringes.

The biggest problem is of course that everything is politicised. Why do companies produce political slogans in their advertisment? Why do you have to think a certain way to do a job, even though your job has nothing to do with politics? When did privacy become an outmoded concept? Children are holding political rallies. As does everybody else, to highlight which rights they want to have, which in turn only angers everybody else because they don't want you to have special treatment. Again, it doesn't matter if you are a pro lifer or belong to BLM, the pattern is always the same.

There is no facet of life that is not contentious in some way. And the media of course feeds off of the outrage. A baker not wanting to bake a certain cake is national news, igniting conflicts across America, and rallying people to both sides. And just by using this example, I will be put into certain corners, even though I just stated facts, without actually judging who is right or wrong in that case. Everything gets blown to extreme proportions, and that causes more harm than good in the end. Those bakers will not change their stance now, even if just to save face. They might have if they could have thought about it a little more, with a little introspection, but instead they were completely ostracised from one part of society. Same goes for the gay couple: They were made the figurehead of a political movement, and are now ostracised from a different part of society (or to a larger degree than previously), when in reality, all this was just about a stupid cake, when you get right down to it.

The gay couple could just have said: "You know what, I disagree with your stance, but I tolerate your point of view." and the bakers could have said "I don't disagree with you two getting married, but I tolerate it anyways, I just don't want to actively participate!" And then everybody would have tolerated each other a little bit, and maybe came to an understanding about the other person, and maybe changed their mind in the end. And again, I am not taking sides here, nor am I dismissing a certain point of view. Yes it is hurtful to hear that somebody considers your love a sin. It is just as hurtful to hear that you are a complete backwards moron and your whole family is evil, and you get blasted for that on national TV. But thats the point of tolerance: You let yourself get hurt a little, and the other person does the same, so that you don't actually hurt yourself seriously. It is neither easy nor pleasant, but necessary if we want to have an open society.

Now, the real crux of the matter is where we draw the line what should be tolerated. Thats where the battle is fought. And to get back to the original point of contention, I chose not to tolerate baseless accusations of racism anymore. In an ideal society, we would now all come together, hold hands, and agree on a certain threshold that everybody can live with, and we would all be a little unhappy about it, but thats life, and we would do that for every problem in society and then everybody would live mostly happily ever after. The problem is of course that not everything can be solved by compromise. Tibet can not be independent and part of China at the same time.

Sorry for the long post, but this topic isn't exactly easy to break down in a few sentences.
Hank
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 11:38am (UTC -6)
@Jammer: I will do my best, but I'd be happy if you could condemn the sweeping generalizations of Stargazer as well. They might not have used as drastic language as I did, but I find them far more serious. Lets not forget that he started it all.

@Mertov: Okay, we have some basic misunderstandings here I think (which are probably my fault). Yes, I am claiming that Discovery is sufficiently different from the rest of the series to not really be Star Trek. Which isn't absurd, but my personal opinion on the matter.
Secondly, I am not saying that everything should be the same forever. Hence me listing different classical composers. Wagner is not the same as Mozart, is not the same as Bach, is not the same as Liszt. A piano sonata is not an Opera. But they are all classical, Cannibal Corpse is Death Metal, and you would not brand one thing as another and claim they are the same.
Thats what I mean by "The same thing". It is a really broad category of similarity, hence my whole spiel pointing out all that which is similar across all examples, including Cannibal Corpse. But at some point the differences are sufficient to warant a new category. We just have different views on where that should be.
Apes share 98 or so percent of their DNA with humans, the same as pigs. You say "But they are all mamals", I say "But that doesn't make a pig a human or a chimp".

So, with that, lets just agree to disagree.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:07pm (UTC -6)
Understood Hank. Thanks for the input. Whether I disagree or not, I feel enriched by exchanges of this type.
Hank
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
Thanks Mertov, I view it the same way.
Booming
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:21pm (UTC -6)
@ Hank: Just to clarify that. The whole bake thing wasn't really about the cake it was about a business saying: "We don't serve gay people." And if a baker can do it, everybody can. And in a few regions maybe even states gay couples could have a hard time finding a place to eat, to sleep and so on. And some would say: Then the market will punish them but that only works in regions that are mostly not homophobic. The problem is the US justice system that works on precedent and not like continental Europe which works on books of law. In France or Germany for example this case would have been unimportant because their would be a law but in the US because there is no precedent the decision is a landmark decision which then decides further cases. Even though in this particular incident the supreme court left the decision if companies in general can deny service to gay people open. tbd
To the rest. To paraphrase the matrix: Maybe you need to unplug.
Jammer
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
@Hank: For the record, I agree that @Stargazer's sweeping generalizations are not helpful and are insulting to many. When I saw the comment, I rolled my eyes.

That being said, I don't police opinions on this board, wrong-headed as they might be. Because once I do that, I am policing everything, and then I become the speech gestapo who is taking sides. (1) No one wants that, and (2) I don't have time for it.

My rule of thumb for everyone: Dumb opinions are permitted. Aggressive personal flame attacks are not, and will be called out if I see them (and deleted, if they persist). Try instead to take the high road by arguing against positions you disagree with rationally (as several users subsequently did).

Thanks.
wolfstar
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:48pm (UTC -6)
The cake thing – insofar as we're talking about the case in Northern Ireland, it wasn't because the couple were gay, it was because they wanted a political message iced on the cake. The bakery would have sold them any other product and probably even a wedding cake if they'd asked, but the issue was whether a business owner should have to produce a product bearing a political message that they disagreed with. Peter Tatchell, the well-known gay rights and human rights activist, actually defended the bakery owners in this case, despite personally disagreeing with their viewpoint. If the ruling had gone in the gay couple's favor, it would have created a dangerous precedent – it would have made it legal for the reverse scenario to happen (someone going to a gay baker and asking for an anti-gay-rights message to be iced on a cake, or someone going to a Muslim t-shirt printer and ordering t-shirts printed with an anti-Islam message). That's why Tatchell and other smart left activists actually took the side of the bakery owners in this case.

If it was about denying service to gay people due to their sexuality, it'd have never come to trial, because that issue was already legally resolved in the UK by the trial of a guest house owner who wouldn't let a gay couple stay there *because* they were gay.

But we're getting off-topic now.
Hank
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer: Thanks, thats perfectly reasonable, and I agree. It might be helpful that you voiced your opinion on the original post. And that you don't police opinions is the main reason I come here.

@Booming & wolfstar: Yes, I know the underlying issues, and I might have mixed up those two cases. I might misremember, but in the American case, the original contention was that the gay couple wanted two men on top of the cake - which the owners argued was a political statement, since the marriage was sanctioned by the state, not the church, hence the political nature of the cake.
Dom
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
@Hank, as someone who probably disagrees with a lot of your politics, your frustration with Stargazer was absolutely appropriate. I've been really disappointed with how frequently progressives have engaged in name-calling and cyberbullying when it comes to pop culture. I know we all like to make fun of right-wing trolls in politics, but I thought we were better than that. I liked The Last Jedi when I first saw it, but the constant warfare within the fandom has really soured me on the film. I'd like to think the lack of (almost) any widespread criticism of films like Wonder Woman, Rogue One, and Black Panther would have demonstrated that most fans are quite happy to watch films with diverse casts and strong female/POC leads if the storytelling is good.

Incidentally, never liked Discovery for the reasons William Wehrs outlined. I think this is the thing a lot of Disco fans don't get. While some of people criticize Discovery out of nostalgia, the vast majority of the criticisms I've come across, including in these forums, have been about basic storytelling technique. Expecting a story to have a satisfying payoff or wanting more room for the story to breath in an episode or concern about glorifying violence - these have nothing to do with TOS or TNG and everything to do with the quality of the writing.
Booming
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
@ Hank I was referring to the Colorado case and here only the decision of the commission was reversed. The owner refused to make a wedding cake. And it was not just about something on the cake. To quote Justice Kennedy (who was the ruling judge)
"At the same time the religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression," Kennedy wrote, adding that the "neutral consideration to which Phillips was entitled was compromised here."
"The commission's hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion," Kennedy said, adding to say that the case was narrow.
Which is another way of saying: "We didn't decide if companies can deny services to gay people." There are now several cases were enterprises denied service to gay people. All pending. And with the new hard majority in the supreme court (Kennedy was a regular swing vote, Kavanaugh won't be) it could certainly happen that it is legal (again) in the US to write on your store front: We don't serve gay people.
And that makes people angry, rightly so.

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer

Nobody here is asking you to police "opinions".

The problem with Stargazer's posts is that they *are* a personal attack. It may not be targeted at a specific person, but it is still a baseless ad-hominem targeted at his fellow posters on this forum.

I fail to see how allowing him to continue with his wild accusations (he basically called us all a bunch of racists, and deflected any attempt of rational rebuttal with "I don't believe your lies!!!") is contributing to keeping these boards civil.

This is not cool. And expecting people to be infinitely polite in the face of such harassment is completely insane.

Bottom line:

I'm with Hank here. Blanket accusations of racism and bullying behavior are far *far* worse than an occasional use of strong language.

Chrome
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
As I mentioned in my original review, I think the Tilly material had a chance to be a great philosophical character story. Trying new things and taking on new challenges that pass your limits is stressful. You’re also dogged by ghosts of the past; your past failures or old friends who don’t expect you to grow. In that thematic sense, I think old friend May blocking Tilly’s growth was an interesting angle for that story.

Instead of being vaguely metaphoric, though, it would’ve been smart if they put some time into fleshing out Tilly’s relationship with May and what it meant to her. I gather that the relationship was similarly as important as Stamets and Culber, but I think that needed to be explained better on screen.
Lynos
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
Last season, my feelings towards Discovery were mostly those of disappointment followed by frustration, culminating in apathy. The apathy continues. While there are good moments and the show looks great, i simply can't see it as Star Trek. They mention the names, they wear the uniform, they speak the lingo, but Star Trek is the one franchise, the one science fiction flagship, that is about LIGHT. Even in DS 9, with the Dominion War and all, even with the Borg in TNG, the light was always there, it was in the way characters behaved, talked, interacted, the morals they held. I don't understand what Discovery is about. Season 1 was about a Klingon War, evil mirror universe people and an officer trying to redeem her name. Season 2 is about an intriguing mystery and brotherly redemption... okay, but... now we're back to Klingon? Or whatever these creatures are? It doesn't FEEL like Star Trek, no matter how many names they mention. And don't get me started on the spore nonsense.

The camera... keeps.. moving... the music... keeps playing... as if the show is afraid to bore you even for one second. Where is the confidence in the material? And why do I need to see spilled entrails in my Star Trek?
Elliott
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
This topic is almost impossible. The problem is that—although there are certainly many people who dislike Discovery (no opinion from me) and TLJ (minsguised, IMO) for fair reasons—there ARE a large number of fans whose critiques of both franchises are in fact racist, sexist, anti-progressive, etc. It behoves those who are (correctly) frustrated in being lumped in with these toxic people to call out the behaviour of the latter. I do think sometimes producers hide behind representation to avoid issues in writing or production, but we need to clear the table of these ugly issues before we can attempt a rational conversation. Otherwise, things just fly off the rails.
Gil
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
Everybody’s entitled to opinion. Everybody is not entitled to libel.
Hank
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
@Booming: Thanks for elaborating, I really mixed everything up there.

@Elliott: What makes you think "we" are not calling out actual racists? And the "we" is all the people wrongly accused of racism. We have nothing in common but that (or at least nothing that we all know of). The "we" includes Artymiss, Dom and myself for example, and I am pretty sure that I am disagreeing with them more often than not (@Dom: I agree with what you wrote above, though). We don't belong to the same group, so I find it hard to see how we have any special obligation to call out racist fans (of which there are almost none on this board to call out anyways). I get your point, and it would make sense in another context, like right wingers actually disavowing racists in their parties, to "clean their own mess before critisizing others", so to speak, but in this case, there just isn't any "group identity" to the "we" beyond "We don't like certain Discovery characters".

@Chrome: I think that would have required a radically different story, though. The way it is set up, there is no way for Tilly not to immediatly try to locate May on Discovery, which leaves almost no time for organic flashbacks because Tilly actively tries not to think about it. If they had given it more time, Tilly could first have communicated with May over the computer, with May being on some Starbase. Then they share fond memories of the past, talk to each other, etc. Then, May says shes coming on board, and "arrives" with the next shuttle. Then Tilly can find out that May isn't really there. May would have had to have access to Tillys memories, though, which would have made Burnhams logical conclusion that May isn't in Tillys imagination but a real thing (which is, now that I think about it, a rather wild guess in the first place), impossible. Basically, they would have needed an whole episode to have the time to set up all this and resolve it in a somewhat decent manner. There's just too much story there for a simple side plot (that was started last season) to complete an arc in a few scenes.
Chrome
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
@Hank

I think a simple conversation towards the beginning of the episode between Tilly and Saru/Stamets/Burnham explaining May’s significance to her past could’ve done wonders for the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if such a scene was removed from the final product for perceived pacing issues though.
Gil
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 7:11pm (UTC -6)
The problem with Tilly in this case is her incuriousness.

It doesn't jive with her being a trained Starfleet officer possessing super-brainy, problem solving skills, or even with her ambitions for a captaincy.

It makes her look like a sap.

It does jive, however, with bad writing that places priority on transient dramatic beats over consistent characterization.
Tim C
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
@William D Wehrs

"Wait are you saying that Voyager and DS9 felt like the same show? I have to respectfully disagree there. DS9 was had vastly different characters than Voyagers, and vastly different plots as well."

To us fans who watched both shows and talked about them on the Internet, they were obviously hugely different. But to a more casual Trek fan, who didn't watch religiously? There was a huge sameness between them. They shared costumes, makeup, directors, producers, even background music that was remarkably consistent between the two.

We fans know that DS9's key advantage over Voyager was consistently better writing. But that's not something that as immediately obvious on the screen.

I'm just saying that the homogeneous production style of 90's Trek was surely a contributor to audiences gradually getting bored and tuning out. Even DS9, with the better writing, suffered declines. We can't blame Voyagers creative malaise entirely for the drop off in viewer interest.
William D Wehrs
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
@Tim C.
Fair I suppose though I would hope people wouldn't call something same without actually watching the shows. And to be clear, nothing would make me happier than seeing highly diverse good Trek shows. For me Trek can be anything, as long as the writing is good. After all, two of the best TOS episodes, The Doomsday Machine and The Trouble with Tribbles, are about as different as can be.
Steve
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 12:35am (UTC -6)
Well I'm a white middle aged guy and my favourite major characters are Worf, Sisko, and Picard. Was warming to Lorca before they killed him off too.

No women that is true but then again on Orville my favourite character was Alara. Was pretty grumpy she left but her replacement seems good too (although a clear clone).

I'd kindly suggest Stargazer critique the show rather than the people commentating on it.
Booming
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 1:45am (UTC -6)
The whole Tilly/ghost story line would have been way better if they had established before that Tilly is actually afraid to lose it because of the extreme pressure. That would have been interesting. Maybe the program is kind of new. Mistakes are made Best and brightest and so on. At the top the air is very thin. They showed that she is somewhat neurotic maybe I missed the setup of the "I'm afraid to go crazy" story line maybe I didn't and they missed to really establish that. Many have mentioned it but the characterizations are relatively weak. I don't know who these people are. When I saw Owosekun I thought: "Oh! Thats the woman from the Luddite colony who cracks locks! I know her a little!" It gave me a warm feeling in my heart.
Artymiss
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 2:25am (UTC -6)
I like Tilly but find it hard to square the dizziness and nerviness of Tilly with someone who's supposedly bright, self-confident, assertive and disciplined enough to be Captain material. I even find it hard to believe she's as intelligent as the script writers want me to believe because they spend too much time establishing that she's a bit goofy. And then suddenly when the plot calls for it she springs into hyper-intelligence and saves the day.

Skywalker
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 3:09am (UTC -6)
This was a very poor episode, even for Discovery, and its egregious canon violations have gone beyond all previously known extremes. I’d you’re interested, I deal with the importance of canon in story-telling in this open letter I wrote to CBS:

https://youtu.be/i-st18Xx6N0
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 3:11am (UTC -6)
I enjoyed DS9 but not nearly as much as TNG. I think DS9 veered to often into stories that could have been done on a non sci fi show for the most part with a focus on romances, comedies and its propensity for filler B plots at times, too much campy mirror universe

It didn’t embrace its Trek roots nearly as much as it should have.

The best stuff it did was in seasons 2/3 when Piller was in charge. Lots of meaty political stuff, fun sci fi plots. Action adventure. In the later seasons outside of the dominion war it was uneven with parodies, romantic comedies, weaker writing, war cliches

Voy had the problem of a bland group of characters with exception of Janeway Seven and the Doctor. The writing was pretty bad. It didn’t successfully capture the sense of wonder, new life and exploration as TNG did

I still think TNG is the best series. I think it has the best cast chemistry, most consistent writing, best track record at using TOS aliens at the same time creating their own and it did the best job at story variety giving us character dramas, allegories, action adventure, high concept and mysteries
Dom
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 8:11am (UTC -6)
@Hank, thanks for writing the response I was thinking about writing to Elliott's comment. My stance on this whole question of cyberbullying, trolls, and identity politics online is also heavily influenced by the fact that shouting at people online isn't going to change their minds. If anything, it will make them become defensive and feel a sense of victimhood.

I've unfortunately seen this with Star Wars fans who didn't like TLJ. In real life and online, I've seen some Star Wars fans who expressed dislike for TLJ, got attacked for being racist or sexist, and eventually became so frustrated that they started going off about SJWs. It would be nice if people in that situation could take a step back and understand where the concerns about racism and sexism are coming from, that the attacks aren't really about you, etc... but a lot of people don't have that ability to self-reflect.

By contrast, everything I've seen about persuading people to embrace tolerance suggests that you have to approach them in a non-hostile manner. I saw a fascinating documentary on Netflix called "White Right: Meeting the Enemy" in which a South Asian woman meets Neo-Nazis and, just by being friendly with them, manages to persuade some of them to abandon their movement. Also, here's an excellent primer on some of the evidence on deradicalization:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/23/want-to-deradicalize-terrorists-treat-them-like-everyone-else-counterterrorism-deradicalization-france-sri-lanka-pontourny-cve/

So, in short, @Elliott while there are some egregious cases that require us to speak out (the harassment of Kelly Marie Tran last year, for example), I worry calling people bigots online often does more harm than good.
Booming
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 9:19am (UTC -6)
@ Dom. While I myself still struggle with the concept I think that you are absolutely correct. There is now a nascent leftist youtube sphere. And what I find so interesting is that they are almost all very rational and just go through the arguments of alt-righters. There are quite a few posts who state that they were hard right or alt-right but through these vids started to critically reflect their own convictions.
For anybody who is interested two examples:
One about the so called great replacement
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUbxVfSqtt8
and one about the self styled Incels
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD2briZ6fB0
Dom
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 11:04am (UTC -6)
@Booming, thanks for the comment. I've actually never really struggled with the concept partly because of my love for Star Trek and Star Wars. In different ways, I feel both franchises - at least in their earlier incarnations - shared common themes about recognizing the humanity in our enemies. Luke redeems his father through love, but never validates the Empire's oppression or bigotry. "I, Borg" is fundamentally an episode about deradicalization, choosing to take a leap of faith and believing that your mortal opponent can learn and grow.

Sometimes the Rebels and the Federation had to defeat their enemies through military might, but almost always after giving them a chance to repent. The Wrath of Khan works as Star Trek to me because in TOS Kirk did give Khan a chance for a fresh start, but Khan wasted it and instead died consumed with hatred.

I think this is why Discovery and its casual use of violence really rubs me the wrong way. I think the show really risks dehumanizing the "other" by suggesting that the Klingons can only be stopped by threatening them with a bomb. Also, when Georgiou casually killed a bunch of her advisors in Season 1, it seemed to say that their lives just didn't matter. Once we go down the road of treating our ideological opponents as "things" rather than "people" - no matter how distasteful their views - it's impossible to believe in the possibility of their redemption.
William D Wehrs
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 11:10am (UTC -6)
@Dom
"The Wrath of Khan works as Star Trek to me because in TOS Kirk did give Khan a chance for a fresh start, but Khan wasted it and instead died consumed with hatred." Plus, even after all Khan has done, Kirk is still trying to help. After disabling the ship, he has Uhura reach out to Khan to alert him that he's going to be borded. Kirk very easily could have just blown up the ship at that point, yet he doesn't.

"Once we go down the road of treating our ideological opponents as "things" rather than "people" - no matter how distasteful their views - it's impossible to believe in the possibility of their redemption." And the most recent episode of Discovery continues that theme with the person opposing L'Rell being given as much characterization as an Uruk-Hai would get. This is such a missed opportunity, as there was plenty of room for a grey character here. Have someone who truly loves his people and wants the Klingon empire to be strong. Thus, he doesn't trust this outsider who took over with the threat of a bomb.
Timo47
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 3:32pm (UTC -6)
I had a lot of problems with this episode. My overall problem with this show is that it's written like a soap opera. It simply jumps from one revelation to the next 'chocking' moment: Amanda stoles files, Pike decrypts classified information, Spock allegedly killed people, Tilly drops out of her training program, Voq and L’Rell have a baby, L'Rell has to give up her baby, Section 31 is interfering with Klingon affairs, and on on it goes.

While there are a few quiet scenes here and there, not a single story or character is given the time to develop. Which is ironic since this is supposed to be a more serialized series. But the error Discovery makes is that it tries to introduce and resolve some subplots like the Klingon story in a single 45 min episode. If Discovery were written more like GoT, this opposition against L'Rell is something
that would have grown slightly episode after episode until it reaches a boiling point and where it has to be resolved in an episode where it can be given the main focus. But here the problem was introduces and solved in 1 subplot out of 4 in a single episode.

It also misses opportunities by going for the "cool" factor such as with Section 31. If this had been a TOS or TNG episode, it would have been our heroes who have had to make the decision on whether to intervene in Klingon affairs or not. This could have given our characters an interesting moral dilemma: do we or don't we. If we don't, we risk the empire falling apart and a return of the war. And if they do (we are pre-TOS after all), their decision might backfire on them later in the season. It would give an opportunity to shape our characters, even let them make mistakes. It could provide debate over what is also a current hot topic of debate with the withdrawal of the US forces out of Afghanistan.
But no, all we get is Section 31 sweeping in with a mirror universe character, no questions asked.

L’Rell has to give up her baby. And this is not given a single moment of time. How are supposed to care for these characters if such pivotal moments are omitted in favor of showing decapitated heads which (again: surprise!) were not real.

There's a lot of potential in Discovery, but this show appears to be missing a show runner to guide the show and scripts in a proper direction, not unlike how Michael Piller had to come in during TNG's 3rd season to give that show its own voice.
Skywalker
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
@Timo47 well said!
Steven
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:00am (UTC -6)
Do people seriously think - the many, dislike this show because of skin colour or women in command? Or diversity? Hmm, maybe some bigoted idiots think like that, but the majority of us are moaning about the show because it's painfully mediocre! DISCO is slow with bad casting and poor characters (for the most part.) The only thing Discovery has going for it, is its incredible visuals (not just for a TV show, but movie quality visuals.) And Pike... And yes, Pike is a white male, but it's the actor, the actor has presence! Ala Patrick Stewart. He is perfectly cast.

Michael isn't clicking with the audience for whatever reason. Maybe it's the actress or the writing or both. Maybe it's because Sonequa Martin-Green always looks miserable. She might have been on The Walking Dead for too long, same expression.

This show needs more hope, more idealism, more exploring, more fun! It doesn't need to be so po-faced all the time. It needs to explore its cast more and give us a reason to root for them. For example: what do we know about the officer with the metal attachment on her face? Nothing! I don't even know / remember her name. There is very little character development and the entire thing has the wrong tone. It's far too serious which often comes across as incoherent in its techno babble / boring.

I really hope the Stewart spin-off is better than this. Then again, it has Stewart.
MadManMUC
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:29am (UTC -6)
@ Steven:

'I really hope the Stewart spin-off is better than this.'

Kurzman is in charge. Don't hold your breath.
BZ
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 11:06am (UTC -6)
This feels like trying to apply season 2's format to a part of season 1's story line. We have a self-contained Klingon story line (the baby is discovered and dealt with. L'Rell's leadership is challenged and dealt with) while slowly progressing the season ark (the red angel stuff). The problem (well, one problem) is that it's too much for one episode. Another problem is that I never cared about the internal Klingon stuff, and still don't. And the Tilly/ghost stuff is handled like Season 1, which is to say serialized badly. Like last season's Ash/Voq reveal, it was too soon and pointless from the plot perspective.

I'm still curious about what the red angels are and what's going on with Spock, but the rest of the episode is just the worst of S1 mixed with the worst of S2.

The best I can say is that the new format is theoretically better than the old, and lends itself more to truly good episodes. I just hope we get some soon.
Yanks
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 11:53am (UTC -6)
@Steven
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:00am (UTC -6)

"Do people seriously think - the many, dislike this show because of skin colour or women in command? Or diversity?"

It's a SJW tactic. Look at the female Ghostbusters movie... the only reason you could dislike it was because you hate women.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 12:44pm (UTC -6)
It's funny (in a bad way) that some people are trying to make an issue of these things.

This is 2019. One would expect that casting minorities or women in lead roles would be a complete non-issue. And indeed, these days it is the norm. So why on earth are we even talking about this?

(That was a rhetorical question. I know that it is a marketing tactic. I just don't understand why so many people swallow it without question)
MadManMUC
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
You know, I'm just about as social democrat/left-wing as they get. I've voted left since I was 18, and will do on the last election before i die. I'm an immigrant to Germany; a Canadian immigrant with white skin and blue eyes, yes, but an immigrant all the same. I love diversity, it makes my life inifinitely more interesting, and I really do enjoy watching films and TV programmes with diverse casts.

But, when I read troll comments like Stargazer's, I get absolutely blind with fury. It's no wonder some people — right, centre, and left — react negatively to them. They're literally engineered to trigger even the most patient and saintly among us, and to try to box us into a corner from which we have to fight our way out, and look like the lowest of the low as a result.

It is more than possible to love, respect, and encourage diversity, and still hate Discovery. Why? Because it's poorly conceived, poorly written, poorly cast, poorly directed, and chooses to ignore everything that made Star Trek such an aspirational idea to begin with.

It is more than possible to love, respect, and encourage diversity, and still think that the character of Michael Burnham is an unbelievable, dull, annoying, know-it-all Mary Sue with a gormless, talentless actor who plays her who unenthusiastically phones in her lines every week (on good days).

It is more than possible to love, respect, and encourage diversity, and still think that the character of Tilly is about as pleasant as hearing a mosquito buzzing around your ears whilst you're trying to sleep is.

And it's more than possible to love, respect, and encourage diversity, and still think that Christopher Pike is actually a pretty cool character played by a pretty fine actor. Why? Because he serves the story, as it's been written. Not because he's a blue-eyed white guy.

If it serves the story, I couldn't give a fucking rat's ass what gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation the cast is on any given show or film.

Conversely, given the right story — and assuming there was a creative team who knew what they were actually doing — Gina Torres would make an absolutely wonderful starship captain in a Trek series. Not because she's a black woman. But, because she's got presence, poise, authority ... and talent (watch her play Jessica Pearson on 'Suits'). In fact, she could have easily played Kathryn Janeway on Voyager. And she was buckets of fun playing Zoe on Firefly. But it's all about her talent as an actor, not her gender or her ethnicity.

The sooner trolls on either end of the spectrum stop infecting people with their communicable internet diseases, the happier we'll all be.

And, I frankly empathise and agree with those above who feel Stargazer wasn't dealt with properly.

Love,
Your foul-mouthed resident lefty.
MadManMUC
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
And quite literally lefty. I'm left-handed. True story.
Booming
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
@ omicron (and Madmanmuc, I guess): I grew up during a time when left handed people were still retrained to be right handed. Because being left handed was wrong or whatever the reason was. And yeah Stargazer is a loon or a troll and the strongest emotional reaction he will ever get out of me is either pity or contempt but representation is important. That may not be clear for people living in their lily white heterosexual world but I for example grew up in a rural area without any character on TV I could easily identify with. I never saw people experience love the way I experience it. And I'm under 40. Plus the shit I had to put up with. I'm a giant and very strong (back then at least) so I didn't have to fear physical harm but when you talk with a friend and he tells you that he finds people like you disgusting without realizing it. That changes you. I had to experience that more than once. And even on TV everybody was different. So yeah for every scared kid siting in some stinking little town somewhere I can guarantee you: Representation does matter and I don't give a shit if people just inserted that to make an extra buck.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

I agree with your general sentiment, but:

(1) The current intolerance against gays is an order of magnitude worse than the current situation with women or racial minorities.
(2) The current situation against both gays and minorities and women is miles better than it was when you and I grew up (which is something like 20 years ago)

So what you've said doesn't really justify making a big deal of the Burnham character being "diverse" in 2019. I suppose that Discovery deserves points for the Stamets/Culber thing, but they ruined that one too when they took the "kill the gay" route.

As for this:
"Representation does matter and I don't give a shit if people just inserted that to make an extra buck"

I don't mind if people do it for the money, either.

But I *do* mind if these people give those diverse characters a crappy role that doesn't do them justice. Does the character of Michael Burnham really does the black population any favors? In season 1, at least, she was one step away from being a villain. Do we really need more black villains on TV?

The situation with Tilly is even worse, because the reason she is so annoying is that she is written as a stereotype. The general population already "knows" that people with Asperger's are socially stupid and annoying as ****. Does the character of Tilly alleviates this stigma in any way?

Doing "representation" like this is pointless and even harmful.
Paul M.
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
"(1) The current intolerance against gays is an order of magnitude worse than the current situation with women or racial minorities."

I am not American, but can someone who is answer this question for me: Who has a better starting chance to get a good education, decent-paying job, and not get shot in the street because you carried a candy bar in a dark alley? Gays or racial minorities?
Paul M.
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
"But I *do* mind if these people give those diverse characters a crappy role that doesn't do them justice. Does the character of Michael Burnham really does the black population any favors? In season 1, at least, she was one step away from being a villain. Do we really need more black villains on TV?"

When I watch Burnham, I see a character who is rather one-note and an actress who doesn't exactly blow me away with her acting chops. None of which has anything to do with her being black. The color of Sonequa's skin has absolutely nothing to do with the depiction of Burnham and her on-screen experiences aren't grounded in racial themes nor does the show in any way explore them in relation to her character.

"The situation with Tilly is even worse, because the reason she is so annoying is that she is written as a stereotype. The general population already "knows" that people with Asperger's are socially stupid and annoying as ****. Does the character of Tilly alleviates this stigma in any way?"

My 15-year-old nephew has Asperger's and can be annoying as hell. And sweet as hell. He never knew his father because the guy ran for the exit the minute he heard about the pregnancy. My nephew sees me as a kind of father figure; I think I can in some small way be credited with the way he turned out. All this is my way of saying that people with Asperger's can be considered "socially stupid and annoying as hell" because, well, they kinda are. But there is also much more to them, as to any other human being, if one is willing to look beneath the surface. Saying that Tilly's character is a stereotype is in itself a stereotypical argument that reduces a rather vibrant character, and a valuable addition to the Discovery crew, to "that chick with Asperger's".

"Doing "representation" like this is pointless and even harmful."

Yeah well, I think that viewing every racial, ethnic, sexual, and what-have-you minority character as "representation" first and foremost is where today's identity politics shenanigans and its mirror-opposites on the right have gone off the rails. Can these characters be viewed as people for once and not fictional paragons of their "identities"? Identities, which are by the way regularly reduced to "black", "gay", "disabled", "woman", "white man", or what have you, by the very people who often claim to be the foremost fighters for these causes. In a way, we have come full circle: both the worst homophobe and the biggest self-styled SJW see a gay person as one thing and one thing only, just from a different perspective -- a gay person. It's very tiring.
Trent
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
Leonard Nimoy on what's wrong with Star Trek Discovery (very good interview): https://youtu.be/nFTsctYfWEw
Chrome
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
@Paul M.

"The color of Sonequa's skin has absolutely nothing to do with the depiction of Burnham and her on-screen experiences aren't grounded in racial themes nor does the show in any way explore them in relation to her character."

That's not entirely true. They haven't gone all Ben Sisko about it, but I think there are some subtle parallels between Sonequa's race and her character's problems. One that immediately comes to mind is Burnham being the target of hate groups on Vulcan and being denied unfettered access to school because of her species.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
"The color of Sonequa's skin has absolutely nothing to do with the depiction of Burnham and her on-screen experiences aren't grounded in racial themes nor does the show in any way explore them in relation to her character."

I agree 100%.

My point is that IF a person insists on taking the character of Burnham as a representation thing (which I don't), then having her do all those terrible things that she did kinda undermines the whole idea.

"Yeah well, I think that viewing every racial, ethnic, sexual, and what-have-you minority character as "representation" first and foremost is where today's identity politics shenanigans and its mirror-opposites on the right have gone off the rails. Can these characters be viewed as people for once and not fictional paragons of their "identities"? Identities, which are by the way regularly reduced to "black", "gay", "disabled", "woman", "white man", or what have you, by the very people who often claim to be the foremost fighters for these causes. In a way, we have come full circle: both the worst homophobe and the biggest self-styled SJW see a gay person as one thing and one thing only, just from a different perspective -- a gay person. It's very tiring."

You won't get an argument from me on any of that. I am in complete agreement with you.

Chrome
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:24pm (UTC -6)
The thing is, race isn't meant to be applied to all characters at all time. It's deeper than that and you need to look at context. Sisko in "Bada Bing Bada Bang" is definitely evoking his race to appeal to why holodecks aren't all fun and games. But that doesn't mean that "For the Uniform" is also a message about how black people, trying to say they don't respect nature and are willing to wantonly poison planets. The former is obviously taking the representation idea a step too far.
Chrome
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Sorry, I meant, "the latter". :-)
Trent
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:28pm (UTC -6)
Bizarrely, in season 1 episode 2 we saw a ship referred to as a Klingon D7 (which looked different to anything we'd seen before). Yet in this episode we see a ship referred to as a D7, which looks like the TOS version.
Trent
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
Further to the post above, google says a D7 appears in "Enterprise" about 100 years before the events in "Discovery". So I guess continuity makes no sense either way.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:48pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome
"The thing is, race isn't meant to be applied to all characters at all time. It's deeper than that and you need to look at context. Sisko in 'Bada Bing Bada Bang' is definitely evoking his race to appeal to why holodecks aren't all fun and games. But that doesn't mean that "For the Uniform" is also a message about how black people, trying to say they don't respect nature and are willing to wantonly poison planets. The former is obviously taking the representation idea a step too far."

The difference is that Sisko didn't have a habit for poisoning planets. I, for one, think that "for the Uniform" is a terrible assassination of the character of Benjamin Sisko.

And if Sisko did that kind of thing every second episode, then yes - that would be a problem. It would completely ruin him as a character to be identified with. Completely ruin him as a role model for the viewers.

This, on its own, has absolutely nothing to do with race... unless somebody makes the connection to begin with. For example, there are quite a few African Americans who see Sisko as an inspiring role-model for them because of his race. There's noting wrong with that, but this would have been impossible if the Sisko character itself was villainous.

TL;DR You can't be a [insert-minority-here] role-model if you're not a role-model in general.


wolfstar
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 6:57pm (UTC -6)
Thanks for posting that pertinent Leonard Nimoy clip, Trent.
Rahul
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
I too would like to thank Trent for posting that old Leonard Nimoy clip on what's wrong with DSC -- sums it up perfectly.

Coming to think of it, that's one comment I've appreciated reading on this forum in well over a week. This forum used to be much more enjoyable to read but it seems like it's the same 4 or 5 people mostly bickering all the time. Also, since I don't watch The Orville, there's even more comments than usual to scroll past.
Jammer
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
John Harmon
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 12:26am (UTC -6)
Great points all around. To your comments about how what they’re doing with Section 31 goes against what was previously established...I really don’t think Alex Kurtzman cares. It’s also very possible he either doesn’t understand Section 31 or never bothered to learn about it at all.

Recall what he did with it in Into Darkness. I think he just heard the phrase Section 31 and maybe heard it had something to do with covert ops and he stopped listening after that.

I think he doesn’t care one bit what goes against previously established stories.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 1:06am (UTC -6)
@ Jammer,

I've always appreciated how circumspect you are in these reviews, and how you avoid making strong declarative statements for or against and try instead to hope that the various elements included are going somewhere. I don't know to what extent you do have strong feelings about the likelihood of these things (e.g. "this may be going somewhere - but I doubt it!!") but I suspect it makes your reviews generally more accessible to people of diverging opinions that you opt away from taking a definitive stance much of the time. Obviously when something is either plainly awesome or ridiculous you do say so.
Artymiss
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 3:40am (UTC -6)
I've just read in the Star Trek facebook thing that Tig is back next episode. Hurrah!
Dom
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 6:27am (UTC -6)
@Rahul, you’re right in that fandom discourse has really gotten pretty bad. I think that’s part of the cost of having such a bad show. When we get good Trek, we can all get excited about the story or speculate about where it’ll go next. Half the fun in a show like Game of Thrones is speculating with friends. I wish we had a Trek show that managed to excite us.
Dannie D
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 7:23am (UTC -6)
I agree with almost everything said before. Bad bad writing! And so much about it (the design, stilted dialogues, flat characters) doesn't even feel like star trek, but some pulp fantasy series, and not one of the good ones. when GOT daenerys claimed the title of Mother (Mhysa), it was the logical consequence of three or four seasons character development, even more, the logical conclusion of a carefully developed myth. Stealing that plotline in such a cheap and amateurish way is just embarrassing and accomplishes nothing. - section 31 worked well on ds9 because we understood it was the absolute exception to established federation ethical standards. who is supposed to take anything happening outside section 31 seriously anymore if it becomes so central to the general framework of federation politics and warfare. Even more annoying that all this is so obviously only happening because some device was desperately needed to bring back Michelle Yeoh. As will be the case with Wilson Cruz. These are fine actors, but fan service shouldn't be more important than plausible storytelling.
ticonstar94
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 7:38am (UTC -6)
The big secret is that Michael and Spock had a relationship together,
You see them kiss in one of the trailers LOL
Yanks
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 7:38am (UTC -6)
@Artymiss
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 3:40am (UTC -6)
"I've just read in the Star Trek facebook thing that Tig is back next episode. Hurrah!"

I'm excited too.

She is present in the previews for the next episode at the end of this one. (briefly)
Artymiss
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 8:01am (UTC -6)
@Yanks


I don't get a preview on Netflix in the UK so it was all exciting news to me.

I'm hoping she takes over as ship Dr and becomes a regular (I know her speciality is engineering but they seemed keen to establish her medical skills at her first appearance).
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 8:25am (UTC -6)
This week's upcoming episode looks likely to be kinda a muddled mess like Point of Light rather than a coherent episode like the first two. Judging by the trailer, we get:

1. Some sort of anomaly/negative space wedgie which traps the ship (A plot?)
2. Saru has some sort of mortal illness.
3. More of the Tilly/spore alien subplot, with the now detached being attacking her and covering her body.
4. The introduction of Number 1.
5. The re-introduction of Jett Reno.

The latter two might be folded into one of the "main three" plots, but it seems altogether too much again for one episode.

Considering we know Berg/Harberts were fired after the filming of the 5th episode - and they had a short production hiatus to retool - I'm beginning to see why they were fired.
Artymiss
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 9:00am (UTC -6)
How many episodes will there be in this 2nd season, does anyone know?
Steven
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 9:12am (UTC -6)
@Artymiss

14. I’m curious who’s directing next week, though. Has that info been released?
Trent
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 9:20am (UTC -6)
I laughed disturbingly hard at Jammer's use of "slush fund".
Yanks
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 10:42am (UTC -6)
Jammer...

"un-re-calibration"

HAHA.... nice. Sums up this episode perfectly.

Nice review.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 11:01am (UTC -6)
@Steven

The next episode is directed by Lee Rose who also directed "Choose Your Pain". So, four episodes this season with four different directors...
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 11:32am (UTC -6)
@Chrome

It's entirely normal for modern shows to use directors as hired guns, switching them out every 1-2 episodes. In the first season there were 13 directors across the 15 episodes, with only Osunsanmi and Goldsman repeating later in the season. This seems to be because it's literally too much work for any one person to direct an entire season, since post-production work on episodes early in the season is going on at the same time as filming late in the season.

That said, I feel like the direction work has been notably all over the place this season. The premier had very straight ahead workmanlike direction, which is actually more than I expected from Kurtzman. The following two episodes both had attempts to be "artsy" involving lighting, fast cuts, and weird angled shots which detracted from the story overall.
Dave in MN
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 11:46am (UTC -6)
I've given up on this show, but I've got to point out that almost every modern drama program has a variety of directors for most episodes. That's pretty much how it's been for decades.

Really good shows are the ones that have a great cast, great writers and smart showrunner(s) with a talent for recruiting auteurs who have a special flair. This directorial variaton ends up producing the bulk of the TV episodes that stick in my memory. The only recent exception to that rule is the new season if "Twin Peaks".

Basically, 4 directors in 4 episodes isn't shocking, it's common.

(Fun Trek fact: Roxanne Briggs-Dawson (Voyager's Torres) is now among that elite set of directors who are guaranteed to do interesting work- check out the episode she directed of "Bates Motel". )
Steven
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
I too have given up on the show, and it's free to watch on Netflix. I'm still watching The Orville and I hope the Picard spin-off is good.
Dom
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer, if you no longer feel like reviewing Discovery, I highly recommend you check out the Expanse. I forgot if you've already seen it. I know you haven't seen Babylon 5, which is another great show, albeit a bit dated.
Dan
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
With luck, all of the people claiming to be "done" with the show actually mean it, and will stay away from the comments going forward. It's tiresome to seem the same bleating about how bad it is. OK, we get it. You don't like it. Then don't watch. Geez.
Jammer
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Where did this idea come from that I don't want to review Discovery?

Re Babylon 5: https://www.jammersblog.com/2019/01/15/will-jammer-ever-review-babylon-5/
Skyelord
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 10:32pm (UTC -6)
I'm really enjoying this season. S1 was a bit rough around the edges but no version of trek hasn't had that problem.

I always yawn a bit in klingon centric episodes in all variations of trek tbh.

I think theres a lot or nostalgic rose-tinted glasses here. A lot of tos/tng/voy and even my beloved ds9 was boring or crap in some was if we're brutally honest.

For me the main thing dsc lacks over ds9/tng/tos is a proper ensemble cast. Burnham just isnt interesting enough to carry the show. We need 5-7 fleshed out main characters plus some well written side ones (eg Garak ds9). Voy had the same problem to a lesser extent. Although they had some decent characters but just gave them nothing to do until it was endless 7/doc/janeway. And it was horribly written in general but i digress.

It "feels" enough like trek to me and I've seen all of it. Eden felt JUST like trek and i loved it - best dsc episode by far.

I even watch ENT to help me sleep sometimes.

Mac King
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 12:59am (UTC -6)
Oh, Star Trek Discovery keeps changing my mind. I was so excited for this show when it was first announced. And after the pilot, I thought this show was going to be awesome. But then I watched the next few episodes and I made the decision that I was going to stop watching if the show didn't improve by midseason break. Then episode 9 was fantastic so I kept watching. And when season 1 ended, I thought I was done. But I remembered that TNG didn't get good until season 3, so I decided to start season 2 and was pleasantly surprised twice in a row. And then this episode played and I said to myself, "Okay, no more for me." And then I saw the teaser for next week, so I'm back on board.

I just wish this show would be consistently good. I'm tired of going back and forth.
MadManMUC
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 8:06am (UTC -6)
Just saw the preview for tonight's episode, and that line from Pike 'like a fly trapped in a web' (in reference to a trapped ship) has me worried we're about to see the Tholians again. Or, Kurzman & Co's idea of the Tholians, anyway ...
Riker's Beard
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 3:18pm (UTC -6)
@Mac King - "I just wish this show would be consistently good. I'm tired of going back and forth."

I definitely see what you mean in regards to Discovery's up's and down's, but no TV show (Trek shows included) is ever consistently good.

For example, I love Game of Thrones, but Season 7 was very disappointing in terms of storytelling and character development. (That said, I'm still looking forward to Season 8.)

The great DS9 churned out what I would call garbage in some of it's best seasons - "Profit and Lace", "Let He Who Is Without Sin", etc.

Not saying we shouldn't complain or point out when a show stumbles, but the wish for a TV show to be "always good" is a bit, well, impossible.

Just interesting to see that some people seem to have less tolerance for bad/mediocre Discovery episodes. I kept watching TNG, DS9, Voyager, etc. even after seeing trash eps like "Code of Honor" and "Threshold" and, to me, Discovery still hasn't hit anything near those kinds of lows.
wolfstar
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 3:22pm (UTC -6)
The difference is that the badness of an ep like Code Of Honor, Threshold, Let He Who Is Without Sin, Profit And Lace, Spock's Brain, A Night In Sickbay etc. doesn't bleed over into any other episode. With Discovery, the awful writing is there in the core ongoing storylines.
Riker's Beard
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
Yes, that is a good point, wolfstar. Dredging up the "continuing Klingon storyline" (which was the worst part of S1 for me) is not doing this show any favors...

When "Threshold" ended, it luckily was never mentioned ever again. There are no scenes where Paris has a nightmare about breaking the "warp barrier" and mating with the amphibian version of his captain... God, what a trainwreck. Where's an overly convenient Voyager reset button when we need one?

Steven
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
To be fair, the events of "Profit and Lace" did bleed over into future Ferengi storylines and "Profit and Lace" itself was a continuation of the less-than-stellar "Ferengi Love Songs".
wolfstar
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, a bad standalone can obviously lead to a bad follow-up, like Profit And Lace -> The Dogs Of War (which I consider a bad ep), or Demon -> Course Oblivion, or (debatably) Statistical Probabilities -> Chrysalis. But it's still contained, just within two episodes instead of one. I'd personally strongly argue that DS9's worst episode isn't something from the middle of S1/S2 (or Let He Who Is Without Sin, or Profit And Lace) but Extreme Measures. It's really really bad precisely because it drops the ball on major plot fronts right in the middle of a crucial arc. And I say that even though the first 20 minutes of the episode (before they enter Sloane's mind) is strong. A dire standalone is forgivable and can be mentally filed away and never rewatched, a dire arc episode has a serious negative impact on a show. So if your show is largely or totally serialized and you're delivering a high rate of badly written arc episodes, you're in trouble. This is why I prefer the partial serialization model of DS9, B5, BSG, Firefly etc. All of those shows had a bunch of absolutely terrible standalones, yet all are eulogised and considered classics today because their main story arcs were compelling and well-written. B5 has over two seasons of dodgy standalones (S1, much of S2 and S5, and the start of S3), and two-thirds of Firefly is absolute guff. Yet no-one remembers those parts, everyone remembers how good the shows' main storylines were. Discovery is all arc all the time, and with the exception of Lisa Randolph and Erika Lippoldt/Bo Yeon Kim, the writers' room simply isn't up to scratch. It would have been like DS9 trying to do the Dominion War arc in season 1 with a writers' room both unfamiliar with the Star Trek universe and inexperienced in general.
Dom
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer, just kidding! I did see your post about B5, which is a shame. Hopefully one day you'll get around to it. To each his own, but as I get older I increasingly find myself dropping shows that aren't working after a season, if not sooner.
Dom
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
@wolfstar, I agree 100%. At the risk of sounding like someone trapped in nostalgia, I feel like TV found the Goldilocks balance between episodic and serialized TV during the 90s and early 2000s. Each episode of DS9, B5, and BSG felt like a complete story in its own right, but also fit into a larger tapestry. There was a reason the overarching story was told in 20 episodes across several seasons as opposed to one really, really long movie. Partial serialization also let the writers experiment. I'm personally not a fan of Neil Gaiman's "Day of the Dead" episode in B5's fifth season, but it's nice that they could play around with such an outlandish concept without worrying about how it would affect episodes down the line. Likewise with DS9's "Far Beyond the Stars" - it really doesn't fit with the rest of the show's plot, but it's a great, out of the box standalone. It'd have been a shame if "Far Beyond the Stars" never got made because the writers felt they had to advance the plot lines.

I probably sound cranky. My frustration is less that so many shows today are serialized, and more that far too many TV writers, reviewers, and audience members view it as the be-all and end-all of TV storytelling. A "prestige" show "needs" to be serialized to be taken seriously. I just hope writers working in Hollywood today haven't completely forgotten the benefits of partial serialization.
Startrekwatcher
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 6:19pm (UTC -6)
Riker’s Beard

Re: no show is consistent

I happen to think TNG was pretty consistently good especially in seasons 3-5. And this was back when shows were doing 26 episodes a season. There were a few weak episodes but I find it overall quite consistently entertaining.


The problem nowadays with serialized storytelling is the fact it’s caught in the whole gimmicky long con/mystery box format. There’s nothing wrong with serialized storytelling. Contrary to some’s belief it is only a recent phenomenon, it has been used to entertaining effect for decades in prime time and daytime dramas. Now if writers would be a little more Hill Street Blues and a little less LOST or Fringe when it comes to serialized storytelling style they’d be better off but I unfortunately don’t see that happening anytime soon



Jammer
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
@Dom: "At the risk of sounding like someone trapped in nostalgia, I feel like TV found the Goldilocks balance between episodic and serialized TV during the 90s and early 2000s. Each episode of DS9, B5, and BSG felt like a complete story in its own right, but also fit into a larger tapestry. [...] I probably sound cranky. My frustration is less that so many shows today are serialized, and more that far too many TV writers, reviewers, and audience members view it as the be-all and end-all of TV storytelling."

I agree with the point that there was a sweet spot 15-20 years ago that balanced between episodic and serialized by doing both simultaneously. I think that's something that works well for viewers and reviewers. (It certainly makes it easier for me.) Interestingly, I think Discovery actually attempts this more so than many serialized shows (although not necessarily well a lot of the time), in that there is often a standalone plot even amid the serialized elements. Even this episode did an entire Klingon plot and moved Tyler from Kronos to Secton 31 in a single episode (arguably too quickly, even). A Netflix show would definitely have stretched this over many episodes.

I don't know that this uber-serialized style of storytelling is necessarily so pervasive because it's considered the end-all-be-all by the creators. I think the 10-hour movie notion is more a symptom of the Netflix effect (where entire seasons are dumped on viewers at once) and everyone thinks they have to do that to compete -- not necessarily that they think this is a marker of quality or prestige. Also worth pointing out is that perhaps Discovery has a slightly more episodic structure because its creators know it is being released weekly.

(As a side note, I'm glad Discovery is released weekly or these reviews would simply not be possible!)
John Harmon
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 12:05am (UTC -6)
@Jammer good to know about Babylon 5. I was wondering if that was meant to be your summer project last year but I’m guessing not.
Jack
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 2:27am (UTC -6)
Agree with this notion of there still needing to be some equilibrium between serialised and episodic content in something like Star Trek, the premise of which is ideal for allowing those strange and unusual ideas that can't get screen time elsewhere to flourish. The limitless creative range of Trek to engage any genre from any angle is what makes it really special.

I should really preface by saying that I only starting watching any variation of Trek about 5 months ago (in my early 20's), and I've since watched half the films, the more famous TOS episodes and the entirety of TNG (skipping a few in line with Jammer's excellent recommendations). I'm now continuing my obsession by watching the sixth season of Deep Space 9 and I'm noting now how effortlessly it changes tone from say the intensive progression of the overarching narrative in Sacrifice of Angels - to the psychological aftermath those events wrought on the main villain and an examination of how great evils are equivocated by tyrants in Waltz - to a cerebral commentary reflecting not only upon racism but upon the core objectives of the show; its optimistic affirmation of humanity's potential - to a fun, slightly zany sci-fi piece about a Runabout shrinking to the size of a toy and saving the day, letting us relax and enjoy another side to characters we've come to care about. To me this is a perfect balance of boldly celebrating creativity without abandoning the most consequential narrative.

I think Discovery tries to be more than a 10 hour netflix space drama by producing a huge number of b-plots that it consistently fails to resolve satisfactorily, but it doesn't seem to have the courage to really take a step back and try something novel or strange. The result is mostly just a slightly bland mess of half-baked concepts that I find hard to justify giving time to, especially considering that the pervasive main plot isn't especially compelling to begin with, despite some good moments here and there.

New Eden seemed like they might be striking a balance again in multiple respects but then...this happened. Perhaps they should try to get more people from TNG and DS9 to direct and pace episodes, given that Frakes did an admirable job with the previous one.

Anyway, in case I don't comment again I just want to say a sincere thankyou to Jammer and other commenters for all these reviews. They've really enriched the experience of watching the show. All the best.
MadManMUC
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 2:37am (UTC -6)
@ Jack:

'Perhaps they should try to get more people from TNG and DS9 to direct and pace episodes'

Absolutely. But, if Kurzman & Co absolutely want Discovery to be this dark serialised thing, then they should also hire Trek writers who can pull it off, and have the respect of fans to boot. I've mentioned Ronald D Moore and Ira Steven Behr before, and I'm sure that there are others from TNG and DS9 who could maybe even rescue this show.
Startrekwatcher
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 4:34am (UTC -6)
I’m burnt out on the whole grim BSG/ convoluted serialization LOST approach to tv

Here’s an idea instead of embracing the excessive gimmicky storytelling approach how about getting back to basics. I think Trek works best with a modest ensemble of likable characters, stand-alone episodes, an optimistic idealized future and telling a variety of low key intimate stories from character dramas to high concept sff to mysteries to political intrigue.

I miss episodes that had a beginning, a middle and an end with a nice beat bow on it. They don’t have to be deep or thoughtful in fact most of Trek is action adventure and plain simple good old fun. I think that’s why TOS and TNG are the most popular. Each week we got something different story wise. They embraced the sense of exploration and the unknown.

I’m not opposed to serialized Trek. In fact, I thought stuff like the Circle trilogy, the Occuparion arc and the Final Chapter were quite involving and some of the best stuff DS9 and Trek did. But those arcs followed a much different style of serialization than contemporary shows do. It was less about gaming the audience and holding their cards and more about simply giving the material room to properly be explored and developed. Nowadays it’s treated much more like a big narrative puzzle with stuff held off screen, deliberately left ambiguous so you can read whatever into a scene and about cliffhanger endings for the water cooler letting the audience spin wild theories

And just my personal preference but if aTrek series is going to do serialized storytelling I would much prefer it go all in. I don’t like shows that try to be a hybrid by either mixing standalone and arc elements within a single episode or that tell a few standalone here then go to arc material. That was one of the frustrating things about DS9. Its arc stuff was much more interesting and entertaining than its filler that I’d have rather it just been only serialized the way a lot of older prime time dramas used to be.
Startrekwatcher
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 4:44am (UTC -6)
Behr did an admirable job mostly on DS9 but I wouldn’t want him or Moore back on Trek. They are not happy with the parameters Trek has. They want to be as anti-Trek as possible. Plus I’m not crazy about what I’ve seen from them as showrunners on the 4400 or BSG. And Ron Moore wasn’t a great of a writer on DS9. He wrote some awful stuff on his own. He did better when working with other folks story ideas. I liked his work much more on TNG but again that’s probably because Michael Piller was there to supervise him and most of his efforts there were teleplays from outside writers ideas.

I’m not sure bringing any former Trek person back is the solution. Piller has passed away. Jeri Taylor was an awful show runner just look at TNG-7 and VOY -3. Ken Biller wasn’t that great when running voy season 7 and he came up with Endgame. Maybe Manny Corp. the Reeves-Stevenses. Maybe Brannon Braga. Yes I said it !

But it’s clear despite all the proclamations by the current crop of writers on DIS of being Trek fans they simply don’t get Trek. Despite the sci fi trappings and prosthetics on the aliens the other series at least felt real but all the nu Trek with all its glossy fast paving and excess of CGI feels very artificial and fake tome
Iceman
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 8:37am (UTC -6)
@Startrekwatcher-

"And just my personal preference but if aTrek series is going to do serialized storytelling I would much prefer it go all in. I don’t like shows that try to be a hybrid by either mixing standalone and arc elements within a single episode or that tell a few standalone here then go to arc material. That was one of the frustrating things about DS9. Its arc stuff was much more interesting and entertaining than its filler that I’d have rather it just been only serialized the way a lot of older prime time dramas used to be. "

I don't think it really matters how many standalones there are. That's just the structure. It's a matter of whether a show can pull it off. I thought DS9 was a mixed bag on this front. Some of its singular one-offs were wonderful, but too many of them told inconsequential stories that didn't add anything of value to the series as a whole. (This differed from season-to-season. Season 4 had lots of good one-offs. Season 6, not as much). But it could be forgiven because DS9 wasn't envisioned as a serialized show, which were quite rare back in the 90s. Discovery can't do serialization well, regardless of how serialized it is.

I would disagree about Ron Moore though. I don't think he should be brought back, but he was a great writer on DS9. He wrote a whole lot of great episodes, from an uncredited re-write of "In the Pale Moonlight" to "Rocks and Shoals" to "The Die is Cast".
Startrekwatcher
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 10:40am (UTC -6)
@iceman

Serialized storytelling was very common in the 90s and even the 80s. And not just serialization but heavily serialized storytelling where every single episode was about the season long arc. No standalones.

Well we will have to disagree about Moore.

I thought a lot of his stuff was awful or mediocre

House of Quark dumb
Life Support awful
Par’Mach awful
Our Man Bashir mediocre
Sons of Mogh meh
Valiant awful
for the cause very average
Waltz boring. I wasn’t one of those fans who thought Dukat was riveting
You are cordially invited mediocre
Dr Bashir I presume awful B plot. Mediocre A plot
Soldiers of the Empire Boring recycled Klingin drivel
Change of Heart boring

I thought Rocks and Shoals was decent but very very overrated. Most of the episode is very basic
Peter G.
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 10:55am (UTC -6)
@ Startrekwatcher,

Can you give some examples of heavily serialized shows in the 80's? If it proves difficult to come up with many then maybe one or two, and perhaps a couple from the 90's? I'm actually curious.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 10:57am (UTC -6)
Dragon Ball Z. Seriously!
Startrekwatcher
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 12:40pm (UTC -6)
Hill Street Blues
St elsewhere
Dallas
Falcon crest
Melrose place
Nypd blue
Daytime soaps
Dom
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer, I agree, Netflix is at least partly responsible for the heavy serialization in modern TV. However, it started earlier and isn't confined to Netflix. I'd trace it back to VHS and DVRs. Writers during the TOS and even TNG era couldn't be confident viewers could watch every episode, but with recording tech writers could feel more comfortable telling longer stories that require audiences to watch every episode. HBO in the early 2000s also pushed serialization heavily. Game of Thrones is heavily serialized, and that comes out weekly. And HBO is widely seen as THE leader in prestige TV.

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