Ok, Trek fans. Take a deep breath and relax. While not perfect, “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars” have some great characters, looks fantastic and the storytelling is solid, making the long game, that of extended storylines and plot arcs, look that much more interesting.The show, at least initially, is driven by Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, First Officer of the USS Shenzhou. Discovery is set some ten years before Kirk and friend in the original series and in the interest of this timeline, they take great pains to tell some characters origin stories via flashback, one of many differences from Trek shows of old. Burnham and her unique Starfleet officer/student of Vulcan culture mix
The show, at least initially, is driven by Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, First Officer of the USS Shenzhou. Discovery is set some ten years before Kirk and friend in the original series and in the interest of this timeline, they take great pains to tell some characters origin stories via flashback, one of many differences from Trek shows of old. Burnham and her unique Starfleet officer/student of Vulcan culture mix are explored, as well as the Klingon T’Kuvma (Chris Obi) who is trying to unite the twenty-four different houses.
T’Kuvma is a solid character, as is Burnham, especially her relationship with alien science officer Lt. Saru, played by the wonderful Doug Jones. Their playful but competitive dialogue brings back fond memories of Kirk and McCoy from the original series. Michelle Yeoh is also solid as Captain Philippa Georgiou, making for a great place to start not only in terms of characters but dialogue and interaction. The only time this faltered was at the beginning, with Georgiou and Burnham on a planet surface, spouting what they thought was clever, witty and interesting dialogue when in fact it came off as pretty silly and bland.
Before I go on about the characters and storylines, I have to make a point to mention just how good this show looked. The trailers were cinematic in style and scope and thankfully they have carried on that wonderful look to the show. CBS is putting their money where their mouth is, dazzling us with some great space battles and wonderful long shots full of depth. Obviously technology has come a long way but still, no Trek show on TV has ever looked this good.
The whole T’Kuvma wanting to unite everyone under one banner/conflict with the Federation is classic Trek, shining a mirror on what is happening in real time with real-world events. It is something that Star Trek has always done well and I was happy to see that continued that tradition.
In terms of the Klingons, I don’t understand what the big deal is in terms of how they look. I am more concerned with they’re rather drawn out way of speaking like they have already seen and heard Shatner as Kirk, but as long as they are written well, who cares? This goes hand in hand with the argument about making the show look more like ‘classic Trek’, which baffles me. Don’t hate a series because it looks good, that’s just silly.
There was a lot to digest in the first two episodes, both for Trek fans and non-Trek fans alike. The depth and detail they went into concerning characters and species backstories made it almost information overload at times but made for the beginnings of some great arcs with more characters in fun, interesting and dangerous settings. After only two episodes it looks like the powers that be have set up Discovery to be around for the long haul, and if the look and feel continue on this trajectory (sorry, couldn’t help myself) it has a chance of sticking around for a while.
Four stars out of five
- Introduction of some characters that you want to care about
- The show looks fantastic
- Solid build up to some far-reaching story arcs
- There was almost too much to digest at times, even for the loyal Trek fan