Monday, May 13, 2019

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 1 Episode 1 (The Vulcan Hello)

Star Trek has an interesting history.  The Original Series was apparently not popular enough to get a fourth season, but it just made it to the point where the reruns could be syndicated.  The Next Generation was syndicated, which gave us seven seasons.  Then, came Deep Space Nine and Voyager, the latter of which was the flagship of UPN.  UPN didn’t last long after Voyager went off the air, but we did get Star Trek: Enterprise, which was set before The Original Series.  There were also the movies, which were a mixed bag.  Then, we got that movie reboot, which I’m still not fond of.

So, here we are with Star Trek: Discovery, which is supposed to be this big thing for CBS All Access.  Except, I’m not going to let CBS use my love of Star Trek to get me to fork over money for yet another streaming service.  I refuse to.  Fortunately, by local library has the first season on DVD.  Thus, I can watch the show and not pay for it.  Having watched the first two episodes so far, I’m glad I didn’t.  I’m not entirely satisfied with what I’ve seen so far.

The episode starts with Captain Philippa Georgiou and First Officer Michael Burnham bringing water to a dry, pre-warp culture without being seen by the inhabitants.  They manage to beam off the planet after a successful mission.  Cut to a damaged communications relay.  It appears the big hole in the middle of it was deliberate.  Not only that, but there’s a Klingon ship hiding in the asteroid field.

These aren’t the original Klingons that Kirk had to deal with.  They have ridges and no hair.  They’re the exact opposite of the first Klingons.  I have no explanation for this.  I’m assuming it will be explained later on.  Anyway, the leader of this ship wants to declare war on The Federation so that he might unite the houses under one rule.  It is a powerful ship and he does have a cloaking device, which I’m assuming will also be explained later on.

Georgiou wants to hold off on attacking.  Starfleet doesn’t fire first.  However, Burnham is in contact with her foster father, Sarek, who advises her to attack first.  Georgiou declines her first officer’s advice, prompting her to act illogically and take the captain out with a Vulcan neck pinch.  Before Burnham can attack, Georgiou recovers and relieves Burnham of duty.  We’re left with a cliffhanger, not knowing what the Klingons will do next.

I have a few issues with the series so far, and we‘re not even 50 minutes into it.  It seems like the show was written by people that had never seen Star Trek before.  It’s as if everyone took a look at various Wikipedia articles and just decided they could wing it.  I’ve already mentioned two issues with the Klingons.  It also seems like the Shenzhou was given a first officer that didn’t have much training.  (If I’m interpreting correctly, it seems like Sarek got her the job rather than having her work her way through the ranks.)

If CBS wanted hard-core fans to buy into the service and support the show, you’d think the writers would try a little harder for continuity.  To be fair, the first season of The Original Series was all over the place, but we’re talking about a franchise that’s fifty years old.  This is the sixth live-action series.  I’d think they’d have their act together.

I think anyone who watched most of the previous series will take issue with the pilot.  I am hopeful.  Each of the other series took a while to get going.  Even the movies seemed to alternate between hit and miss.  There are so many issues with this episode, but I am willing to give the series a chance.  It did get a second season and will apparently get a third.  I will admit that there are ways my issues could be satisfactorily resolved.


Alex Diaz-Granados said...

Actually, a lot of people who worked on Star Trek: Discovery also worked on other incarnations of Trek. Joe Menosky worked on TNG as a producer. The series creator also worked on Voyager. Nicholas Meyer directed two of the Original Series feature films and co-wrote another. And Gene Roddenberry's son is one of the Executive Producers.

I can tell that you don't like the new series, and I respect that. But as a Star Trek fan, I enjoy the show more than I do the Kelvin Timeline films. Way more, in fact.

Brian Kuhl said...

It's just that there seem to be a lot of continuity issues packed into one hour. I suspect that an explanation will come along eventually. Since I waited for so long for the first disc, I'm going to watch the first four episodes. I'll probably get the second disc, too. I'll at least give it half a season.