So the first two episodes of Star Trek Discovery are available on Netflix. I watched them earlier this week.
There had been a lot of negative commentary about the series before it aired so my expectations were low.
Mark Zicree (Mr. Sci-Fi), for example, had a YouTube video called “Klingons are dull” which spoke about problems on the show and speculated that a decision had already been taken that there would only be a single series. It also (as the title indicates) talked about the fact that the Klingons are not the most interested subject (a sentiment I echo – I had no interested whatsoever in TNG episodes that focused on Worf or the Klingons).
So having seen the first two episodes I can say that low expectations were justified.
The things I disliked most – in additional to there being too much about the Klingons of course – were (spoilers ahead):
- The opening scene which (a) had no apparent purpose and (b) ended up with the two lead characters making a sign using footprints in sand (what the hell!)
- The opening titles are awful. So different from the other series and so poor.
- The lack of any chemistry between the crew members. Captain Georgiou and Michael Burnham (the two lead characters) were supposed to have worked together for years and to be very close but there was absolutely no sign of this (other than some of the things which they said)
- The actions of Michael Burnham when she commits mutiny (what the hell!)
- I can’t believe that they cast Michelle Yeoh as the captain (I was very happy about his, of course, as I’m a big fan) and then allowed her to fight a Klingon where (a) she showed none of her martial arts skills and (b) she was killed! Why would you cast he in this way? Maybe the production team cast her without even seeing “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (what the hell!)
- The Klingon ship summoned other ships using “photonic activity”. These ships were light years away presumably and these photos would have been travelling at the speed of light surely!!
- The scene where Michael Burnham escapes from the brig (what the hell!)
- The bit where the hologram of Sarek sits down on the deck in (what the hell!)
Further to these last three points: I remember how Gene Roddenberry hired scientific advisers in the original series to help to make sure that what they were saying and showing had at least some basis in science. It is clear that no scientific advisors have been hired on the new show.
I have watched some videos where people (including Mr. Sci-Fi) review the two episodes. Marc Zicree, made the following observations:
- He said that he didn’t believe most of the words coming out of people’s mouths.
- He talks about Georgiou and Burnham beaming over to the Klingon ship and how ridiculous this would be (and against every principle which has been established in previous series!)
- He talks about how the episodes seem to be too much based upon “set pieces”.
- He also observed that there is no warmth or humour, and no apparent commentary on current issues or events. Other reviewers mentioned that the team has said that the Klingsons are supposed to be based on Trump supporters and they pointed out some very contradictory elements of this supposed analogy
Observations by other reviewers include:
- They talk about the clumsy over emphasis on casting female, black, and Asian actors in the lead roles. All of this has been done before in the Star Trek series.
- People are particularly critical of the Michael Burnham character and, indeed, the actress. As well as being very poor and very unbelievable, they observe that nothing which happens in the first two episodes allows us to have any empathy for or interest in her. How can see be the central character?
- One person noted that the initials for the series are STD and how appropriate this may be!
So I am planning to watch some more episodes (there will only be 15 after all apparently) but I am not expecting much.
Here is Mr. Sci-Fi’s review: