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Start Trek: Discovery Mid Season 1 Review

Written by Cleveland Oakes, November 13, 2017, at 12:15 p.m. Tweet to @Oakes945

Star Trek: The Old Frontier

So after months of waiting with bated breath Star Trek: Discovery came to its rousing if uneven season finale. The mid-season finale “Into the Forest I Go.” put a very neat bow on the Klingon/Federation war. It also set some interesting, plot threads for the series return in January.

Star Trek: Discovery is the 6th serialized Star Trek television series. Like its predecessor Star Trek: Enterprise, Discovery is also a prequel to the adventures of Kirk and Spock. As a prequel, this series has been extremely controversial because many elements of the show, don’t seem to fit into the timeline of the Prime Star Trek Universe.

Fans have had problems with the uniforms, futuristic ship designs, Spock’s human sister, and the U.S.S. Discovery’s advanced Spore drive, and most of all Discovery’s drastically different Klingons.

Overall, this was a solid first season. Discovery is a great science fiction show. However, that doesn’t make Discovery a great Star Trek show. Personally, I am enjoying Discovery far more than its predecessors Voyager and Enterprise. Sadly for me, both of those programs quickly devolved into hate-watching.

Something Old Something New

In subject matter and tone, Discovery is in spirit a sibling of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Both shows delved heavily into war and the darker side of the Federation. However, Discovery only had one true Trek type episode in the time-bending “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad.”

Whereas DS9 while heavily serialized still captured the spirit of adventure of both The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Discovery often seems to have more in common with the super slick, super polished, Star Trek of JJ Abrams Kelvin timeline.

The most controversial aspect of the show has become the Klingons. The Klingons depicted in Star Trek the Motion Picture, and The Next Generation were slightly cosmetically different than those from The Original Series. Nevertheless, they were similar enough in tone a spirit that those cosmetic changes made little difference.

The Klingons in this series have very little in common for those for any other Trek series. In fact, the actor’s makeup and prosthetics are so heavy you can hear them struggling with their breath’s as they quote their lines. I have no idea why the creators of this show decided to make the Klingons even more alien. It was an unnecessary and drastic change that diminishes the show greatly for me and many other fans. Hopefully, this will be rectified next season.

Exploring the Dark

Discovery is different in that this show doesn’t feature the adventures of the Captain and the bridge crew but instead focus on disgraced Starfleet Officer, Michael Burnham. The mysterious and possibly evil Captain Gabriel Lorca. First Officer Lieutenant Saru, Engineer Lieutenant Stamets, Chief of Security Ash Tyler and Cadet Sylvia Tilly are all ancillary characters.

The core group is an interesting cast of characters, but in 9 episodes there have yet to be any true series standouts. Lt. Saru is a Spock/Data analog. Tilly is the comedy relief. Lt. Stamets and his partner Doctor Culver are the doomed lovers. Series lead Michael Burnham is the prototypical reluctant hero. Ash Tyler is the unwitting double agent. Even though this series said it would shy away from the Captain being the focal point of the series, Captain Gabriel Lorca has proven the true heart of this series.

I’m keenly interested in his true motivations and intentions.

While the season has been overall predictable, it has taken some chances. The finale found our crew stranded in an unknown sector of space-time. Possibly adrift in the multiverse. Perhaps this predicament will explain Discovery’s supposed timeline inconsistencies.

Overall Discovery is a solid show, which will hopefully find it footing sometime during the second half of its first season. For right now I would give it a solid B+


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