Sunday, April 19, 2020

Star Trek: Short Treks -- Season 1 Episode 1 (Runaway)

I finally got around to getting CBS All Access, or at least the free trial, and I’ve already watched the first two seasons of Discovery.  After watching the new Twilight Zone, I came across the Short Treks and realized that I could now watch them.  They haven’t previously been made available on DVD, so All Access was my only option.

The first episode is Runaway, and served as a prelude to Such Sweet Sorrow, parts one and two.  It focuses on Ensign Sylvia Tilly and Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po meeting for the first time.  Po stows away on a shuttlecraft bound for Discovery.  She has the ability to turn invisible and goes undetected until meeting Tilly in the mess hall.

Rather than report the incident, the two talk and become friends.  Each has a tendency to run away.  We learn from a conversation between Till and her mother that Tilly would rather run away from the challenge of climbing a wall.  Dear mother feels that Tilly won’t withstand the pressures of the command training program.  Po tells Tilly that she’s running away from being queen of her people.  The two realize that running away isn’t the solution.

The episode comes off like an extended outtake.  Like, it was some dialogue that was cut from a main episode.  One of the advantages of streaming is that the rules aren’t as strict.  There’s no real time limit, since you’re not trying to fit into the network’s schedule.  If you have a perfect story for 15 minutes, then do it.

The Short Treks would seem to be perfect for someone who has a short break and wants to watch something.  It’s not long and it’s not too deep.  It deals with one narrative that probably wouldn’t work as an hour-long episode.  We get to see a little character development for Tilly and we get to meet a new race.  (I kind of get now why Tilly was a little better in the second season.)

No new sets are built for the episode.  It deals with two characters, one of which is new.  This was released between Discovery’s first and second seasons, but isn’t really necessary to enjoy Discovery.  When I watched Such Sweet Sorrow, I knew that I was missing something, but I could still follow that episode’s story.  Watching this now is more like finally understanding what Tilly and Po were talking about.

I kind of wonder why CBS doesn’t make stuff like this available for free.  It’s not a full Discovery episode and releasing one or two episodes on YouTube might encourage people to sign up.  It’s also not the kind of thing that’s dependant on a larger story arc, but it does give you an idea of what Star Trek: Discovery looks like.  It’s the perfect free sample.

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