Why I Love Star Trek Discovery
"You judge the creature by its appearance and by one single incident from its past. Nothing in its biology suggests it would attack except in self-defense. Commander, this creature is an unknown alien. It can only be what it is, not what you want it to be."
I wasn't hoping for much in Star Trek Discover. After the J.J. Abrahms movies, I was at peace with the fact that we would never see another true Star Trek, so successful was the dismantling and destruction of almost every sacred element of the show. This was allegedly for the purpose of appealing to a wider audience. Out went the interest in the various cultures and worlds out there in the universe, and in came ACTION scenes and stupid songs by the Beastie Boys. Oh look, it's Sabotage! I know that song! Wow that J.J. sure knows how to make something shit like Star Trek good for those who hate it!
Shame on J.J. Abrahms and shame on those who destroyed something holy, in order to make themselves feel that it wasn't that they simply didn't *get it* but that their appraisal of Star Trek was correct: that it was stupid, childish and confusing. By appealing to the lowest of the low however, J.J. Abrahms seems to have somehow facilitated the return of true Star Trek; that show that prizes intellectual pursuit and yes, discovery, over any number of hammy explosion filled action scenes. So do we thank him or not? I'm not too sure. What I am sure of though is that Star Trek Discovery is the real deal.
Star Trek Discovery follows the adventures of mutineer Michael Burnham, as she attempts to help Starfleet get through a vicious way with the Klingons. The first sign that this was honest to goodness real gen-u-ine Star Trek was the care and interest into the lives of the Klingons. They aren't just the bad guys, they are a complex and intriguing group who have their own rightful grievances. Then there is the lead: Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham. Isn't that such a Gene Roddenberry name? Fuck gender roles! Martin-Green is superb here, strong as all hell and full of complexity. She is also stunningly beautiful (on a par with young William Shatner!) and has a real touch for deadpan humour.
Episode 5, Choose Your Pain, does two very Star Trekky things. First it expresses compassion for ALL life forms, not just those who look human. The quote above is Burnham standing up for a slightly ugly and potentially threatening life form, in a way that made me cry. Gene Roddenberry would be proud. Second, they revealed that two of the characters are gay - or bi-sexual, which is perhaps the future of sexuality. Who needs such binary nonsense? Star Trek was always forward thinking, so this perhaps shouldn't be a surprise but after such aggressively (traditionally) masculine nonsense and diminishing of female characters that occurred in the J.J. movies, it kind of is.
Discovery is a show that follows on from Enterprise and Deep Space Nine, in a strong way. It is fixated on one story for the entirety of its run, and as such is capable of delivering much more in depth stories than a Star Trek that hops around. I sincerely hope it is renewed for many more seasons. Michael Burnham might just be my favourite character in all of Star Trek, up there with Picard and Sisko, so powerful and on point is she in the role. Diversity of cast is nearly always a good sign that a show is operating on a higher level than its stodgy, straight white male only counterparts. Not that diversity alone can do it, but it certainly helps with a show like Star Trek that the future is multi-cultural and full of different beliefs and hopes and dreams. A shout out to Marvel's Netflix shows for making such helpful advances in this regard. I loved seeing the legendary Michelle Yeoh as Burnham's original captain.
Discovery is then a show of great potential. So far it's on track to be as good as DS9, Enterprise and the Next Generation at their best. It casts aside the anti-science fiction of the J.J. movies and embraces the legacy of the show in a way that makes me, and many other Star Trek fans, very happy. No offense to those who liked the J.J. movies, but for pity's sake, please keep it to yourself. Don't interfere with or diminish this show just so you can look like you fuck women to your dullard friends. Abandon the thought that Star Trek is for you, and not for us. It's ours. Keep your Michael Bay movies and go and procreate - well, to be honest I'd be happier if you didn't - but leave us our beloved thing. Please.