What a good stand-off in Star Trek looks like.
I decided to give the CBS All Access trial a whirl and watch the first couple Discovery episodes.
Things I like:
- The hero ship’s look and feel. It was vastly improved from the earlier shots. Glad the team behind it went back and got that right. Internally, we don’t see much of it, but what we do is even better.
- Michelle Yeoh. She’s wonderful in everything, and was extra extra wonderful in this.
- I liked the rest of the crew — what little we’ve scene from them — as well. But didn’t quite love them, not yet.
Things I didn’t like:
- The early focus on just a few characters. This is going to make caring about other characters in later episodes a lot harder.
- Absolutely no humor. These characters are in space (!!!) and not having any fun.
- Almost everything about the Klingons.
- Mopey Klingons huddling around a room doing nothing but complaining about a peaceful Federation is boring.
- Klingon, as a language, sounds cool when it’s just a couple phrases here or there. Qapla’! Long monologue after monologue? Not so much.
- The Klingon villain ship looks like gigantic coagulating vomit. (Another Klingon thingy we see, which I won’t mention because spoilers, actually looked pretty cool, though. It’s a shame we didn’t get more of that.)
- While I think Klingons looked great between the original cast’s movies and the TNG/DS9/Voyager/Enterprise era, I’m fine with there being changes — in an ‘okay, whatever’ fashion. But if CBS suddenly decides Klingons need to look radically different, can they at least look different in a way that allows the make-up and cosmetics team to still let the actors portray their characters with emotions?
- The writing.
- Character conflict is great, but if there’s going to be character conflict, can they be over things that make sense? With rational characters acting in ways that feel natural to their character — and not just pigeonholed in there to move the plot along? And can the conflicts derive from issues viewers feel invested in?
- Speaking of which, it would have been nice to have spent more time with the primary cast of characters before the story really started. This was a huge writing failure. Being thrust right into the central story almost right off the bat — before people had the chance to really meet the characters, and get some understanding of what this new Trek was going to be all about — did not help this series at all. This is one thing the Bad Robot movies mostly nailed, and why many people love the 2009 film as much as they do (despite its many warts), so it’s a disappointment CBS didn’t figure this all out.
- Meanwhile, it feels like CBS learned all the wrong lessons from the JJ films.
- Obligatory space suit launch scene, because that’s what everyone is waiting for when watching Star Trek.
- Obligatory “call a Vulcan we know from a previous series who’s very far away from the plot while actual exciting shit is happening” scenes. Yes, more than one.
- Villains we’re given no reason to care about.
- Was there lens flare? There was probably lens flare.
- Sarek, Sarek, Sarek. I actually like the actor who plays Sarek, and I think his portrayal was fine, but this series did not need Sarek, especially so soon, and especially how he’s tied up into the plot. Complete with magic! Subtraction would have been addition here.
- In the middle of a big giant stalemate, I was bored.
- If there’s going to be PEW PEW PEW, it be nice for the phase cannons to stand out in contrast with the blackness of space.
So, will I watch more? If CBS decides to air it on TV at some point, I’ll give it a whirl — because I’ve always watched Star Trek everything. But unless I’m reading about a dramatic turnaround by the end of the season, it’s not something I’m going to sign up to CBS All Access to watch.