Many of my usual readers will know that I have a serious problem with restraining my love for Star Trek when it comes to writing about Twin Peaks. Nearly, if not all “reviews” have been strewn with Star Trek references like bird shit on a bus shelter and yet I’ve not actually dedicated an entire article to my most beloved franchise!?
I’ve gushed over Skyrim and Fallout. I explained why Negan is the hero that The Walking Dead deserves and now all that’s about to change because today you will discover that… I really fancy Sonequa Martin Green. Hey, Sherilyn Fenn is still my 90’s crush okay, don’t worry!
But I really liked Green’s character’ Sasha in The Walking Dead, she was an utter badass but as soon as I heard the announcement that she was going to play the lead in the next Star Trek series I knew that her tenure was drawing to a close. As a fan of the comic book there’s this character called Holly that ends up being turned into a zombie by Negan in order to fuck up a hostage negotiation and Sasha’s story lifted elements from Holly’s comic book arc… so, she was bound to die in the season finale.
But enough of The Walking Dead and no, I’m not going to litter this article with tangential nonsense from Twin Peaks. Instead, I’m going to focus entirely on Star Trek. So, without further adieu here’s my thoughts on the trailer for Star Trek Discovery.
First, there were two trailers that were released. One used to promote the upcoming CBS All Access streaming service and one for Netflix and despite both using the same footage I certainly preferred the Netflix trailer. I’m a fan of the Canadian band’ M83 and the trailer used a song that I like and it felt better edited.
I usually pick up on slightly awkward scene cuts and the opening moment with Michelle Yeoh’s Captain Philippa Georgiou talking to Green’s First Officer Michael Burnham about “getting her own command” was obviously several scenes shoved together. I didn’t like the bit at the end where we see a Klingon swinging his bat’leth (fancy Klingon sword) at the camera, it just didn’t work for me.
Would you believe that as a die-hard Trekkie, this was my only complaint?
Well, it is 2017 and the internet is a thing so it’s no surprise that the trailer on YouTube was not well received. I wasn’t exactly shocked to discover that many of the negative comments revolved around the main character being a black woman. As I said, I wasn’t shocked… it’s the internet and in the age of Gamergate, complaints about an all-women Ghostbusters and pussy-grabbing Donald Trump being “POTUS”. Was it any surprise in this true age of the idiot that a new Star Trek show was getting shit thrown at it?
I swear to Kahless! If this society becomes any dumber, I’m going to dye my hair pink, dress like a lesbian and dig up my old Tumblr because I’m gonna go full on SJW!
This is the problem with Star Trek.
The best thing and the worst thing about Star Trek is its fans. Some, not all are so fickle that they’d rather their favourite franchise die with no hope of its corpse finding planet Genesis.
Seriously, they would rather no resurrection of the franchise they claim to love so dearly… it’s illogical?! It’s like saying, Agent Dale Cooper would rather not have a cup of coffee in Tibet if given the chance!
Oops… sorry, I did say I wouldn’t reference Twin Peaks.
If you’re a fan of Star Trek and you like the gazillion different ships that have appeared in the franchise then I implore to check out Trekyards on YouTube. Captain Foley and Commander Cockings always dig deep into the lore of Trek and their expert analysis on the ships are a treat for any fan but when they posted up the trailer on their Facebook page… well, things got messy quicker than Commander Sonak in a transporter accident.
And a lot of the frustration was down to people’s inability to divorce their mindset away from the visual aesthetic of a show from 1966.
Sure, one comment made me think. They said that Star Wars can evolve the look but still retain the atmosphere of “a galaxy far, far away”. Just look at the original Star Wars and compare the Stormtroopers from that film to the new films. Even Rogue One looks spot on but that franchise, that universe is supposed to be set further than the Delta Quadrant, it’s in “a galaxy, blah blah away”. Whereas; Star Trek is set in our future, our interpretation of our future and this includes the aesthetic aspect.
If we were going to stick with the established lore of Star Trek then we would need to explain The Eugenics Wars of the 1990’s. Allow me to explain, within the established history of Star Trek there was a huge war that spanned between 1992 and 1996 where Khan (of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan fame) became the ruler of most of the world. Hey, maybe when Kirk and crew went back in time to 1986 to save some whales, only to create inbred whales because they only save two siblings… maybe, the timeline got changed? Again?!
It’s Star Trek, sometimes the timeline fucks up.
What I’m getting at is; in 1966 I very much doubt that prolific series’ creator and general womaniser’ Gene Roddenberry actually gave any thought to the possibility that the show he was creating was going to have some huge pop cultural impact?
When it came to revitalising Star Trek in the late 70’s, the uniforms changed from the primary colours of the original series to that of disgusting pastel shades that reflected the time period. In the late 80’s when the Enterprise D sought out the final frontier, everything looked like an 80’s office-cum-cruise ship and then in the early 2000’s the crew of the original starship to bare the name “Enterprise”(… well, kinda) looked grounded in near gritty realism. The point is, each show reflected the era so why the fuck would a progressive show need to look back into order to look forward?
Okay, I will admit that this show is a prequel to the original Star Trek. The trailer mentions that this is set 10 years before Captain Kirk, Spock, and The Enterprise. But should the uniforms look like they did in the original pilot episode? Well, there are certain cues. As Trekyards pointed out in their recent video, some of the previous iterations featured a lot of blue. Just look at the jumpsuits from 2001’s Star Trek: Enterprise… yeah, this promo pic makes the uniforms look more mauve/purple but that’s probably down to the lighting. In the show, they were undoubtedly blue.
Then there are the uniforms in the opening minutes of 2009’s Star Trek where Kirk’s father sacrifices himself so that Cameron from House MD can give birth to baby Kirk. There’s a lot of blue.
But I don’t think the criticism is the blue uniforms, it’s more to do with this series straying away from the typical primary colours that we’re used to seeing in The Original Series and The Next Generation. Yet, you’ll rarely see criticism thrown at the uniforms as shown in Star Trek II and all the way up to Star Trek VI? The characters are all dressed in a very Naval fashion, which is odd considering that Starfleet isn’t supposed to be a military organisation… well, they’re not supposed to be, but they do fly around with a shit load of weapons and they have military ranks. They’re also not supposed to have money in the future and yet there are gambling and Scotty remarks about buying a boat in one of the films. So they do have money, I guess?
In an early episode of The Next Generations, Captain Picard has to explain to a businessman that has recently thawed out from being frozen; “A lot has changed in three hundred years, people are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of ‘things’. We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions.” but then Data also owns a cat and I bet Riker had to buy that trombone… are you telling me that Geordi received FREE eye care? I call bullshit on that!
There’s a lot of inconsistencies in Star Trek but there’s also 546 hours worth of television episodes and films. Thousands upon thousands of people have been involved in bringing Star Trek to the masses, of course, there’s going to be inconsistencies. Klingons have pink blood but I’ve seen them bleed red in an episode or two. “Vulcan has no moon” Said Spock but when we see Vulcan in The Motion Picture, there are moons! Unless he meant that literally, as in; another alien race wouldn’t call their planet’s orbiting planetoid a “moon”… you know what? I’m going to talk about the trailer now.
So we see our first glimpse of Captain Georgiou’s ship’ the USS Shenzhou as it cuts through a dust cloud. It looks nimble and threatening. She reminds me of the USS Reliant from The Wrath of Khan with the underslung warp nacelles. But the bridge appears to be on the bottom of the ship instead of the top. That’s certainly a change from the usual design philosophy but I quite like it. It means the crew can look out on to a planet that they’re above, it’s an interesting change and one that I welcome.
Originally, Gene Roddenberry stated that the bridge had to be on the top so that the audience had a sense of scale. Having a window does this better, in my opinion.
Back in 2009 when JJ Abrams directed the Star Trek reboot movie, some Trekkies complained that the bridge had a massive window at the front of the bridge instead of the usual view screen. Well, I don’t know about you but if I were a bridge officer on a Federation starship, I’d want a window to see, you know? SPACE. How cool would that be? Is it practical? Yes, of course, it is. “But, but enemy ships could easily shoot the bridge crew or they could use binoculars and see the shield frequency on one of the computer screens so that their photon torpedoes could pass right through their shields!”
If you’re going to be so petty then how is it that every alien race automatically knows which angle to orientate their ship? There’s no universal “up”… I swear, it’s like these anally retentive Trekkies have their Trill symbiont rammed right up their arses!
We also get a look at a really cool looking communicator, very reminiscent to The Original Series ones and then Captain Georgiou and Burnham gets “beamed up” from a location that isn’t a sound stage or Vasquez Rocks. They filmed in Jordan and here’s an interesting fact for ya, you big nerd, Star Trek Into Darkness was the first time that Star Trek was filmed outside of the Americas. Crazy, right?! And yet fans have complained about the production quality of this new show?
We get a good look at the bridge of the USS Shenzhou and there are a few cues from the original series, such as the red trim on the Captain’s chair being very reminiscent to the… those… er, kinda pointless bars that encircled the bridge of the original Enterprise. The bridge of the Shenzhou also looks a bit like the USS Franklin’s bridge from last years’ Star Trek Beyond with a little bit of Voyager thrown into the mix with it’s near brushed metallic look of the computer consoles.
It’s worth mentioning that the eponymous USS Discovery that this series is named after does not feature in this trailer. In fact, half the cast don’t appear. Rekha Sharma from Battlestar Galactica and the most recent episode of the awesome fan series’ Star Trek Continues, Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful) and even Jason Isaacs, who is supposed to be the Captain of the USS Discovery just don’t feature at all.
So, I’m going to speculate that the Shenzhou will probably get destroyed in the pilot episode… poor Michelle Yeoh! The Captain always has to go down with their ship. Well, unless you’re Picard or Kirk…
We also get a good look at the Klingons and Gre’thor! Fans weren’t happy, of course, they weren’t.
It’s like people forgot that Klingons change depending on who is writing or directing. Just look at the original Klingons and compare them to their counterparts at the beginning of The Motion Picture.
Sometimes Klingons are an allegory for Communist Russia, sometimes they’re Space Samurai as per Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, sometimes they’re Space Vikings, sometimes they’re stupid or they’re Worf. People were saying that they didn’t even look like Klingons but take a gander at some of the pictures I’ve placed in this article… there are similarities. The colours that are used, the greys, the golds for example. We even get head ridges and just because these Klingons aren’t sporting dodgy facial hair or Gene Simmons wigs doesn’t necessarily mean that other Klingons won’t.
Maybe memories are short but look at the first two seasons of The Next Generation… most of those episode’s suck. Try watching all of season one on Netflix, oh you got to “Code of Honor” and switched off? Of course you did, Picard and crew visit the planet of the African stereotypes or even worse; “Angel One” which is a horribly awkward commentary on Apartheid that ends up just being a little bit racist.
Maybe some fans have rose tinted glasses or maybe it’s just typical hipster, millennial whining for whining’ sake? I don’t know and I never said I had any answers. All I know is that we have a new Star Trek show and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks fucking good.
Visually, this is practically on par with a feature film. The shots with Burnham in her awesome Starfleet space suit looks amazing and the asteroids encircling a distant singularity really gives us a better perspective of space than punched holes in black card (as per The Original Series). Never has space been shown in such grandeur in a Trek show.
But what we really need to do is wait for the pilot episode, let’s see if this is any good. Let’s see if we’re really going to boldly go where no one has gone before… or maybe it’ll be shit? But like Q; I’ll judge this show when it is finally broadcast. As a fan, a “Trekkie”, I’m just happy for new Star Trek.
So live long and prosper and if you don’t then blame entropy and your own inability to control your finances!
I give this trailer four lights, FOUR LIGHTS out of FOUR LIGHTS!
Phew! You know what? I was worried that I might not be able to focus on the task at hand without having to make pointless pop culture references to things that are barely related to this article’s subject matter. But I managed it better than my own finances and unlike the Star Trek, I’m a slave to the corporate machine so if you liked this article enough to donate a dollar or five, maybe some gold pressed latinum? Then check out my Patreon; Click here!
Support creative people and if I make enough then I’ll be able to buy a new laptop since all my money from working my arse off goes on bills and food. And if you’re not as rich as the Grand Nagus then you can still support me by sharing this with your friends and fellow red shirts. The more people, the merrier!