Monday, August 15, 2016

About Discovery...

So, there's a new Star Trek series coming out. It's gonna be called Discovery, it's gonna be on CBS Access, Bell Media, and Internation Netflix services, it's due in early-2017, and it features the worst looking starship design in the history of the universe. Just the overall layout of the ship makes my head hurt and I doubt any considerable amounts of polishing will change my perspective on this.

In any event, some details have been revealed in regards to what the series is all about and I thought I take some time to discuss a couple of these points here. Nothing outlandish or deep; just some quick ramblings.

Here's what we know, thus far.

1 - The series will take place ten years before Kirk took command of the USS Enterprise.
This somewhat intrigues me a bit; not necessarily because I was looking forward to any sort of series in this timeframe, but rather in how they're going to try and recreate that kind of atmosphere in 2016 without making the stuff that was done in 1966 look dated and cheap. The 2-part "In A Mirror Darkly" episode did a fine enough job in 2004, but that was just using pre-existing sets and props. Not to mention, the timeframe would place this during Captain Pike's tenure on the Enterprise, which had very different looking uniforms and even more primitive looking setpieces and props... not to mention paper print outs, which Enterprise never did, by the way... oh, god, I just realized that now.

2 - This will focus on a particular event heavily discussed in the Original Series but never really touched on.
No Romulan Wars, No Axe-Damar, no Kobayashi Maru. It's something else... presumably the space age virus that made people forget what century they were in. I suppose this one deserves a bit of clarification of sorts.

In the early days of Star Trek, a lot of the familiar lingo and parameters had yet to be established. Whether it was a Federation or a Space Probe Agency, whether it was deflector shields or deflector screens. Photon torpedoes were originally nothing more than proximity phaser shots. The key point, however, is the time frame. Star Trek is set in the mid-23rd century and yet there would be episodes that would reference events taking place during then-present time as something that took place 200 years ago - the most famous of this being the episode "Space Seed" where the Enterprise uncovers a space module from that era (it's the one with Khan.) This would either reference events taking place in the 21st century (then near-future) or Star Trek actually took place in the 22nd. That would get fixed up later, but the fact that episodes still use the 200 year reference is amusing in hindsight.

3 - The main character will be a Lieutenant Commander... with caveats. Whatever that means.
An interesting direction for sure... rather than focus on the captain or even the ensemble cast, the series will be told from the perspective of an underling. I don't get the "caveats" bit, but I suspect that will be a thing to be elaborated on as time moves forwards.

4 - Yes, the cast will be racially diverse. Yes, there will be a gay character. And yes, more people care about these details than they actually should.
Trek casts have had some semblance of diversity, going back to the original series which had a black woman and an Asian dude. Doesn't seem like much until you realize that it's an upgrade over the original pilot which featured nothing but white people. And yet this is a point that is made into a big deal for... absolutely no reason?

Here's the thing; I don't care about the color of their skin, I don't care about their sexual orientation, I just want a cast of interesting characters. All that other stuff is secondary to me and the fact that "our casts is gonna be racially diverse and we'll even have a gay character" is an actual selling point of this series only goes to show how far we as a society have regressed. It seems to me that more people are focused on making casts diverse in ethnicity and sexual orientation than they are trying to tell a good story. And it is unfortunate that the people making new Trek has to resort to this blatant pandering to sell their show, especially considering that in the world of Star Trek, racial diversity and gay people aren't something to be celebrated as a big deal; it's something that is accepted as easily as the Earth being round.

The worst that could happen is that if this overhyped gay character turns out to be bland as shit, then people will constantly refer to that person as "the token gay character." It's happened in other contexts in the past. It can happen again in the future. Just focus on giving me great characters to care about and then focus on the details.

5 - There will be robots.

Um... er, I mean... cool. We need more robots. Robots get no love.

That is all.

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