Short Treks: Calypso

calypsoI haven’t watched the season two opener for Star Trek: Discovery yet, but I did watch one of the Short Treks on Friday that Netflix has finally put up over here, and it was awfully ‘meh’. Technically it was well done, the sets and effects work pretty terrific and the acting is fine but the story was cringeworthy even for Trek. Set a thousand years in the future with the Discovery abandoned for centuries… yeah that’s a great premise right there but dear lord what they went and did with it…

Calypso is basically a love story. Craft is a warrior castaway whose lifeboat stumbles upon the Discovery, and the ships AI computer has evolved over the thousand years to become, well, typically ‘human’ and a strange love story unfolds, complete with Zora (the AI) loving old 20th Century movies starring Fred Astaire and creating a Holo-version of herself that can dance with Craft and… ugh. There are some very firm similarities to the Officer K/Joi relationship from BR2049 here, both in plot and in physical execution. Sure technically it’s polished but this story is so old and, limited by the short running-time, so limited it just feels like Trek at its very worst: safe, predictable, cosy, embarrassing- yeah, thats modern Trek right there.  I mean, someone gives you the premise of jumping a thousand years into the future and someone stumbling upon the Discovery, abandoned somehow for centuries, and the show locks itself off from any reveals about the galaxy or the Federation a thousand years hence by becoming an intimate, ahem, love story between a stranger and an AI. Maybe I’m missing something somewhere, but there was a time when Star Trek was brave and bold- no wonder I adored Babylon 5 so much back in the day.