WARNING THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS AND STRONG LANGUAGE.
So, right after I saw the pilot on Netflix, I ranted about this series on Facebook and promised to go a bit more into detail, maybe in a video, once I’m back in Germany.
A promise on which I haven’t delivered so far.
I intended this to be a video on my YT channel, however, I ended up deciding not to, as I don’t really have any video footage about this to show for, and I didn’t just want to copy from the series – so a blog post will have to do.
Now, if I look at my Facebook stream, and what my friends post, people are quite polarized – some say they really enjoy the show, while others (myself included) have a huge distaste for it. So let me try to explain why I don’t like it.
Look and feel
The most obvious place, that most seem to start at is the optics – Discovery, while taking elements from the Star Trek franchise, doesn’t look quite like any older star trek, it is using some of the aesthetics of the reboot motion pictures, meaning tons of lens-flares, a lot more action oriented scenery, special effects left and right.
Now a lot of people would say “so, what, it’s looking better.. except those Klingons”, and probably they are right – even though I think that the stargate like turning of the saucer when preparing a jump is just one nod to many to another series.
There is also those who say “this is too much grit for star trek”, and I disagree – IMHO the grit they have fits into the story they want to tell, and is something that both Voyager and ds9 missed, and that could have improved those.
A lot of people point their fingers at the Klingons and say “they changed those, they look like space orcs” – and yes they do – personally, I could forgive that part, if it was only the looks they had changed. In previous Trek Klingons where portrait as honorable warriors, while the new Klingons act more feral, honor replaced by sadism, warrior pride replaced by millennial entitlement syndrome, served with modified voices that make Klingon sound overly whiny, pathetic and annoying – if they weren’t Klingons, and someone would ask me what species had been reimagined there, I would have said “obviously Kazon”, and that’s where the real problem begins.
continuity, canon etc.
Now, with DSC (i really want to abbreviate STD) playing 10 years before TOS, they have right from the start put themselves into a very bad place, which especially with claiming canon and prime-timeline (the same timeline as TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY) makes it almost impossible for them to not break things.
It has been pointed out by a few people, that star trek always had continuity and canon breaks in there – but I’d like to point out that even with enterprise they managed to at least make an effort having the more modern looking tech not be outperforming the tech of the later star trek series, and to at least try to uphold a few established things.
The Makers of DSC just pissed over that. We have seen space suits with more capability than the ones in Voyager, large ships maneuvering in ways that would have blown defiants inertial dampeners, we have seen the voice-activated computer that came with TNG – apparently backed with an AI outperforming the computer of the later series, then there is the magic mushroom drive (imagine voyager had known about that one..), now in the 6th episode we basically see a holodeck.. The same goes for story elements – the protagonist is Sareks ward, like a sibling to Spock – who never spoke of her – shes running the first mutiny in Starfleet’s history.. just in TOS no one knew about it…
The federation in original canon after first contact ends in a stage with the federation/Klingon cold war from 2223 on, with occasional battles, for example in 2245, with the battle of donatu V. It, by canon before discovery escalated into a full-blown war in 2267, and was ended by the organians, who imposed the Treaty of Organia on both federation and Klingons.
Now all of a sudden Discovery injects a war into that period, that no one in any of the later series ever spoke about, and that cannot possibly lead to any conclusion (as that would completely screw TOS & the Motion Pictures) – with a federation that acts as if it wasn’t in a cold war already..
Did I mention the magic mushroom drive?
Now I could lose myself into spewing out line after line on how the makers of discovery are mistaken in putting the story of an idealistic and peaceful federation drifting into the hardship of war, and how they get it wrong by not doing the whole ideals vs. breaking those and consequences thing (the tardigrade lives happy ever after, despite the torture, and Stamets is fine too… imagine how much better the episode would have been if the tentigrate had died, and Stamets just barely survived.. or died too, putting the discovery into the position where their magic drive is not only torture but a direct trade life for moves…)
Or how the story they want to tell would have been a much easier and canon-friendly story, if it was put past wolf 359, in the dominion wars, or after the dominion wars.
But honestly, if you don’t know those things already, then most likely, you don’t care, and you won’t understand why this annoys the shit out of people like me, so let me try to give you an analogy
My friend Nathan replied to a post where I stated that the release of Discovery at least made voyager not the worst star trek series anymore by asking:
“So can you tell me what part of discovery so far is worse than Janeway and Paris becoming slugs, having children and then reverting back to human form?”
and with that question in mind, let me try to explain why I hate discovery, even though it seems a decent sci-fi series.
If you had asked me, when I was a child, what my favorite dish in the world was, I would have replied my Grandmas lentil soup. I’m sure you had a dish that you loved as a child too, so if you don’t like lentil soup – just replace the dish in the story by whatever your favorite dish used to be.
Now at some point, I moved from my grandparents – which I grew up with – to my father, which meant I would get my lentil soup more rarely, so I didn’t mind much if it wasn’t exactly the same as my grandmas, it was still lentil soup, and still delicious.
In my previous job I would go to the canteen every day, and sometimes they would have lentil soup – and well I didn’t like it too much, as they often would undercook the lentils, and the ingredients were sometimes a bit on the weak side. I’d still order and eat it, even though I didn’t like what they did to that dish too much. That’s how I feel about Voyager, that’s how other star trek fans might feel about ds9 or enterprise.
But now imagine you go into the supermarket, and they offer canned lentil soup, with the label saying “as made by Peters Grandma” (Its a real star trek on prime-timeline), however, because their market analysis said that people prefer peas over lentils, they replaced the lentils with peas.
Now, this might be a delicious pea soup; but for all I care, as long as the label says “as made by Peters Grandma”, it should contain lentils, not peas, and at least it should try to get close to the dish I loved as a child, rather than pissing all over it. and that’s what makes discovery so far worse than Janeway and Paris becoming slugs, having children and then reverting back to human form, to never speak again about their child (probably the most cringe-worthy voyager episode ever).