Star Trek: Discovery Season Two

std6The problems with this show are manifold, but perhaps best summed up by its final moments. We are on the gorgeously reimagined bridge of the original Enterprise, Number One is at the helm, Captain Pike sitting in the command chair, and as they prepare to embark on another voyage in the newly-repaired starship, a clean-shaven officer Spock enters the bridge, wearing his familiar blue science uniform. Its like the clearest distillation of what was great about original Trek. Captain Pike (Anson Mount) has been the best thing about this entire season, the beating heart of it, and he’s only been the guest-star of the show. He’s (surprisingly) the nearest any Star Trek show or movie has ever gotten to recreating the vibe and style of William Shatner’s original Kirk. Smart, charismatic, bold, loyal, he’s been a magnetic personality dominating the season. Perhaps even more tellingly, Number One (Rebecca Romjin) who possibly only appeared in three or four episodes but completely stole the show from most everyone else on any bridge, Enterprise or Discovery. Now minus the irritating beard, Ethan Peck looks oddly ‘right’ as Mr Spock, glorious in proper starfleet uniform, familiar to, yet excitingly different from, Leonard Nimoy’s original. The bridge set design is better than anything in the Star Trek reboot movies, or any tv show of any Trek era. Bright colours, vivid, shiny, beautiful. Even the CGI Enterprise model is breathtakingly good- its no ‘hot-rod’ reimagining but rather the original done well, with all the added style and detail one could hope for. So the Enterprise and these wonderfully realised characters are going off on fresh adventures, closing out the season with all sorts of promise and possibilities….

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…only this is not what we’re going to get. Season three of Discovery will not show us what happens next, what bold exciting adventures this ship and crew will have.

Remember that other lot? You know, that other bunch of non-entity characters (beyond their names, tell me anything interesting about any of them) that populate the bridge of that other ship that buggered off to the future about twenty minutes prior. Yeah, go on, think hard, you remember them. That ‘Chosen One’ Michael Burnham, you know, the one that the universe inexplicably revolved around for about twenty-odd episodes and who had to save all sentient life in the galaxy by disappearing down a wormhole, yeah, the half-sister that Spock that never mentioned ever, in any of 79 tv episodes or several movies, whose Starship, the Discovery, which flew with some magic-sorcery Sporedrive nonsense and which has never been mentioned in any Star Trek series or movie, of any era, ever, even though it arguably saved all creation by, like, buggering off to another time after Burnham. Oh go on, think hard, that other bunch.

Yeah, them. Season three is going to be all about them, conveniently off on in the distant future nine centuries hence, so they can no longer toss about with Trek continuity or timelines or mythology.  Only they won’t have more interesting characters from the Enterprise to save the show and actually make it interesting. No, the writers will be on their own from now on. God help them.

I could go on about all the things that irritated me. Most of it, in all honesty, is the writing, which handicaps both the actors and their craft and much everything else. The show looks terrific, the costumes, the effects, most of the sets, the props, it’s all high-quality stuff, arguably the equal of anything from the movie Treks, including those reboots. But the writing is something from Sesame Street or Power Rangers or modern Dr Who or kids cartoons of the 1970s… its bloody awful. I was hoping it would improve as the season progressed but it actually got worse, mired in a tangled loop of science-as-sorcery and twisted time paradoxes. Something about ‘it was never Burnham’s mother in the timesuit, it was Burnham instead’ which was, like, apparently contradicting everything we’d seen before, when her mother actually told us she was the Red Angel repeatedly saving Burnham and actually was, because, like, when they caught the Red Angel it was her mother in the suit. All I know is I couldn’t give a toss about Discovery or its non-entity politically correct crew, I was more interested in the Enterprise and its crew of actually interesting characters with actual personality.

But alas that’s gone now. But maybe when season three inevitably implodes and gets cancelled, we’ll get that Captain Pike’s Enterprise as a spin-off or something. Hell, I’d even go see the movie if they turned it into a movie, it’s already miles better than that JJ reboot nonsense.

 

Farewell, Mr Spock….

Just a note to remark upon the passing on Friday of Leonard Nimoy. Of course he was more than just an actor who played Mr Spock- as an actor he played many notable parts other than the famous Vulcan, and demonstrated many other talents other than acting, such as photography and film directing, in his long career. But to many of us children of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, he will forever be identified as Mr Spock from the original tv series.

spockWhen the news broke I was at work, one of my colleagues seeing the news come up on his smartphone (a piece of tech that always feels very ‘Trek’) . Another colleague and this one an ‘original’ Trek fan (we old Trekkies distance ourselves from later generations of fans, as their own ‘favourite’ Treks tend to be the ones they grew up with, such as ST:Voyager  is amongst some of my work colleagues,) rang me up a few minutes later to inform me of the news. I’m sure there were many other similar calls that afternoon amongst fans… indeed, I dare day the internet went into overload as forums and websites and social media and news vendors broke the news. How much technology has changed and reshaped the world since that first series aired.

Whenever a major film actor or director dies, there seems to be a trend these days for fans to watch one of the deceased persons’ movies or tv shows as an act of memoriam or tribute. Its something I’ve often noted many fans mentioning on forums but have never done myself. But on Friday night when I got back home, I pulled down my Star Trek: TOS blu ray off its shelf and watched one of the episodes most notable for featuring Mr Spock in a central role- The Galileo Seven, an episode that has always been one of my favourites. Wonderful stuff.