The first trailer for Star Trek: Discovery landed online a few days ago. Rampant fans are knee deep in eviscerating or championing the first look. I am going to wait before throwing my
pointless fanboy currency into the universe.
That being said, I have been thinking about a few areas I hope the show boldly avoids:
The last Trek series, Enterprise, started with an interesting premise: a Temporal Cold War. Time travel played a big part of the shows ongoing story arc. Until it wasn’t and summarily forgotten.
The next dose of Trek we had came via the Kelvin Timeline, credited to J. J. Abrams, which kicked the universe on its ass when rebooting the original series of characters for the big screen.
Without getting bogged down on the successes or failures of Enterprise or the Kelvin trilogy, the timeline has been screwed with enough.
Abundance of Familiar Names
Giving a wink, nod, or tickle to established characters, ships, planets, or other story line is fun on a prequel or sequel series. Nostalgia! Retire the crutch of callbacks early. I read that Rainn Wilson is playing Harry Mudd. I can dig this move. It’s a popular character that hasn’t been seen on screen since the beginning. On the flip side, Sarek is on the cast. Spock’s old man has popped up several times.
What I’m really worried about is seeing ratings-grabbing appearances of the Borg, Q, Soong-type androids, or main character ancestors.
This is a new series with new characters in a giant universe. Take advantage.
Style Over Substance
The prequel handcuff of modern special effects on Discovery is tricky. How do you look like a show that takes place before a 1960’s version of the future? Easy. You don’t.
Forcing an armada of CGI and goofy aliens won’t endear many new or existing fans. Practical effects with a great story will always beat computer generated effects with an average story.
Gloom & Doom
Star Trek has always been about exploration and bettering humanity. There have been darker tones, especially in Deep Space Nine, but it didn’t come at the cost of the show’s most important element: the crew. No matter what, from all incarnations of the Enterprise, to DS9 and Voyager, the crew believed in each other. They were a family.
Plenty of popular shows break the bank on a gloom and doom narrative. Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green came from The Walking Dead, a zombie marathon of kicks to your feelings hole. Can we expect a giant drag through the quadrant each week?
Shared Universe Building
Bail on creating a new shared universe.. at first. Get Discovery right before taking a look at the next project. Yes, there are decades of rich, amazing stories in the Trek universe. But the last series ended with a whimper 12 years ago and the new films are a bit divisive. Focus on the foundation then turn to resuscitating the rest of the galaxy.
Star Trek: Discovery debuts this fall on CBS All Access.