Thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery?


Today’s open thread reminded me that I haven’t heard this forum’s opinion on Star Trek: Discovery.

So far I’m really enjoying it. They’re trying something new in terms of the setting and focus on a single character but every other good Star Trek series has switched up the formula. Michael is a really intriguing character and making the POV such an outsider is a cool choice. The design for Star Fleet is ok but I really like the way the Klingons look.

I would love a way to watch it that’s not CBS all-access though. I’m cancelling it as soon as the series is over.


I’m enjoying it, but I look forward to what comes after the current story arc. I’ve always found the Klingons to be middling on my list of Trek advesaries. I want to see what foe comes after this war storyline is over.


Gonna just copy and paste what I wrote on Neogaf with regards to the most recent episode (summary: I’ve generally enjoyed it so far, and I really like a few of the characters in particular, but there’s this one specific thing from episode 3 that’s really bothering me):

Honestly, I think my only real issue with the show thus far is that one throwaway line early in Context is for Kings about the Federation using prisoners for hard labour. All the dodgy stuff on Discovery? I’m basically fine with it–they’re clearly planning to explore/examine the tension inherent in Starfleet’s dual roles as both a peaceful scientific institution and a military force, and I think that could be super cool depending on how they handle it.

But the Federation using prisoners for hard - indeed, potentially lethal - labour? I just can’t get onboard with that. If it were a key part of the plot - an abuse they planned to explore and expose - then that’d be one thing, but just using it as set dressing is simply horrid. It destroys any conception of the Federation as a utopia.

Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t fit with canon, or whatever–while I feel confident in saying that nothing of the sort would’ve occurred in the TNG/post-TNG Federation, I simply don’t know enough about the TOS era to say either way. My complaint is instead rooted in the basic idea that no civilisation that’s in any sense painted as something that might provide hope for the future of humanity/something to aspire towards, should engage in that kind of behaviour as a matter of course. Again, it’d be different if it were something they planned to specifically explore in the plot, like Lorca and Discovery itself, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.


Discovery is the first Star Trek series I’ve watched, and while I was fairly interested through the first two episodes Context Is For Kings brought me on-board properly. I was pretty lukewarm on Klingons, so the stuff introduced in ep3 (which is looking to be somewhat of the central thing of the series, or at least this arc) is far more interesting to me. Got some Event Horizon vibes, which is… not what I was expecting. Lorca also looks to be an interesting captain.


I think I like it?
I could nitpick about the new Klingons and the holographic communications, and how putting the deflector array on the front of the saucer feels more modern than the ships that come after canonically, not less. But I am starting to come to terms with the fact that the look and feel of Star Trek is going get rebooted every three decades or so and I will just have to live with it the way James Bond fans do.

Tonally it is throwing darker than Star Trek tends to, even DS9. it is very much “The Federation at war” in a way that is not generally felt in the series even when the Federation is at war and the USS Discovery seems to basically be a military science black site operation which feels a bit dystopic for Star Trek but other series have alluded to such projects like the experimental Federation cloaking device Riker served on.

At first I was worried the more military tone was going to be text for the series, but it seems like the series is aware of Star Trek’s tone and this is going to present characters with different perspectives wrestling with their starfleet ideals in the face of a terrifying force. the previews for the season to come give me some hope that the Klingons will get similarly fleshed out. they got some heat on Waypoint radio for being kind of flat noble warrior people stereotypes, which is entirely fair but I do think the series has tried to shade them with some nuance and diversity in there and I hope they end up being more that flat villains. I have always prefered the Klingons as sometimes strained allies with the Federation.
Overall last night in bed I realized that however I end up feeling about Discovery in the end I am already thinking of it as a real, proper Star Trek.

Also, Cadet Tilly! I love Cadet Tilly, I want to be her, and I think in a way I already am her. all I want is for her to become the best captain the Federation has ever seen.
I would also like to start the entirely baseless rumor that she is Reginald Barclay’s grandmother.


I love Tilly as well and can identify with her. I’ve always been sympathetic to the characters in Trek that maybe don’t quite live up to the rest of the highly principled and hyper competent main cast.

I don’t know if she’ll ever make Captain but I’m rooting for her. She is sort of like if you took Ezri Dax and Lt. Broccoli and rolled them together.


So hypothetically, I could wait til the season is over, pay $6 for a month and just watch it all then. Right?


Yeah, that first scene in Context is for Kings really rubbed me the wrong way as well. I actually think they showed prison labor in the pilot of Voyager, but it definitely wasn’t the kind of labor they seemed to hint at in Discovery.

Anyway, I remain optimistic and I’ve enjoyed most of the series so far. It’s definitely better than the god awful first season of TNG.


Yeah, they show Tom Paris doing some light farming in the - positively pleasant, putting the obvious loss of liberty aside - New Zealand Penal Colony. As we know for a fact that farming is completely unnecessary as of the 24th century, I always took it to be part of his rehabilitation programme–and, in any case, it’s not even remotely comparable to putting prisoners to work mining, in a demonstrably lethal - they talk about how 50 people/‘cons’ had already been killed in a single accident! - environment.

But anyway, that one - admittedly pretty bloody major; if they don’t address it any point, I’m honestly gonna have trouble justifying, well, anything I’ve ever said about Star Trek as a hopeful vision for the future of humanity - issue aside, I’ve been enjoying it, too.


I really hope the dig into it in a good way. There have been plenty of episodes that dealt with the dark underbelly of The Federation. Voyager tried (and failed) to make it a big part of the series. There was some scenes in the season preview at the end of episode 2 that hinted at it including a ranting Rainn Wilson.


You know who hes playing right?


I got two main lines of thought on Discovery. The first is that, after nearly a decade of the Trek Reboots, it is really nice to see something cleave closer to a lot of older Trek stories. The first two episode are basically the characters talking about a tense situation and what actions they should take, which in my opinion, is the Star Trek format. I’m watching DS9 right now too, and I’m just shocked how much better everything looks. Like, the last Star Trek was in 2005, and you can tell TV has just gotten better. Discovery is a pleasant surprise for someone used to an exciting, but thematically compromised film series set in the Star Trek canon.

On the other hand. I’m not certain I’m comfortable with how the writes have framed a compromising Starfleet. Danielle really helped me crystallize my thoughts on this, on the last podcast. Star Trek is utopian because the people in charge give a shit about making Federation citizen’s lives better. Yet, I really feel like we see a Starfleet that portrayed as completely incompetent on it’s frontier. The Shenzhou’s crew basically falls apart at the first sign of danger. The commanding officer completely misunderstood her first officer, both the first officer and second could not work together at all, and there was even a mutiny, apparently the first ever for Starfleet. I think what bothers me the most is that it really feels like the narrative and the camera work is used to fall in line with Michael Burham’s suggestion of a preemptive attack being the only viable option. It feels like Discovery at least start with saying “actually, peaceful negotiation is arrogant and bad, what you need to do is blow the terrorists up first”.

I’m going to grant that we’re in episode 3 and there’s a lot left. But it’s not a great feeling.


I’ve been enjoying it a lot, far more than I ever expected to! I found some of the dialog in the first episode a bit cringy, but I was totally hooked once the plot got going!

I’ve been hearing a lot of people criticise how it doesn’t fit in neatly with the other shows in terms of tone/structure. I understand where they’re coming from with that, but I’m much happier with it using the old shows as a springboard for a completely new type of story. I think people looking for it to perfectly slot into the larger Trek “universe” need to let go a bit if they want to get the most out of it.

The best part of Discovery has been watching it with my dad though. We used to watch every new episode of DS9/Voyager/Enterprise together when I was growing up, and it’s been lovely to relive that as an adult :smiley:


The show has promise, although the implication that the central plot being about what’s really going onboard the Discovery makes me less hopeful that this show will be about a “trek” among the “stars”. That and the fact that so far Michael Burnham has only demonstrated complete incompetence makes me worried. Then again, a Star Trek show shot for the HD era might be enough to keep me interested.


Hope no one minds if I attempt to kick off discussion in here again.

New episode tonight - Lethe
"The USS Discovery crew is intrigued by new addition, Lt. Ash Tyler. Sarek seeks Burnham’s help, rekindling memories from her past. Admiral Cornwell questions Lorca’s tactics."

I’ve been enjoying the show a lot. Always been a casual Trek fan for years, back since TNG, Deep Space 9 and Voyager used to get shown on BBC 2 after school. Casual in the sense I enjoy the show but don’t own merch, don’t have a costume, don’t go to conventions etc but have always enjoyed the show and what it stands for. Having said that I’m happy to see the show being updated in this way. A tighter serialised show with a fresh feel is definitely the direction I’d hoped this would go, but I can see the pangs of pain from fans who miss the lighter, more idealised side. I’m sure more of that will come with time. The Klingon war is supposed to be a season long arc rather than a series long one, it’ll be interesting to see where the show develops from here. Also, still pretty weird to see Clem Fandango in here.


It’s my favorite new show. Couldn’t find any discussion at Slaent ATM so this works.


I’ve only seen the first 2 eps. The general consensus is that it’s improved dramatically from the first two episodes right?


Is anyone watching the new episode?


I’m going to soon. Man, this is weird.
Star Trek GAF is gone.


Not just Star Trek…years following many show threads all gone . :cold_sweat: