Thursday, May 18, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery Has a Trailer! My Thoughts

I have avoided doing news reports on my blog for a while now. Partly was because I found focus on the episode reviews, but largely because news on Discovery was mostly rumors, setbacks, and nothing very reliable. I did not want to be another voice repeating a lot of what has been said over and over, and to be honest the constant delays was frustrating. I decided to wait until we actually had something concrete to sink my teeth into, and yesterday, it finally happened. A trailer for Star Trek: Discovery was launched, and to quote George Takei: "Oh my!"

If you missed it, you can watch the video here:

OK, time for my thoughts.

First off, let me say that I thought I was watching a trailer for a new movie, not a new television series. The quality of the sets and effects are absolutely stunning! I have heard that CBS is pulling out all the stops for Discovery (something about it being the main goal for their on-demand service), and this trailer seems to back it up. It looks like top quality production, so I am really excited for that aspect of it. While reports have said that the new show will be grittier, and we definitely see some of that in the trailer, we also see that the show is going to look really good.

Next, the uniforms. I was a little surprised by the new uniform style. I can already hear a number of the doubters and haters sharpening up their knives and taking a whack at the new look, but I kind of like them. Yes, they are not anything like we have seen the Original series. Well, that's just fine by me. I think if Roddenberry had the budget, he would have spruced up the bright colors a bit himself. I like that the new uniforms remind me of Enterprise, showing some attention to continuity. And while the uniform is indeed different, it still looks like a Starfleet uniform to me. Jacob Issacs, who will play one of the captains in the new series, has said that Discovery will look both new and familiar. The uniforms fit that bill.

Character wise, we get an introduction to Sonequa Martin-Green (of Walking Dead fame) as Michael Burnham, the main character, and her captain, played by Michelle Yeoh (who I loved in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). I like the dynamics of these two already, showing us that they have been together for seven years. It almost felt like Picard and Riker after the movies had gotten started, with one mentoring the other about command. With the focus being on a character other than the captain, this too felt both new and familiar. We see who I can only assume is Lt. Saru, played by Doug Jones. Saru is a new species of alien that has yet to be mentioned or named. Apparently, his species has a special ability to detect the approach of death. I am not sure how that works, but it is an interesting idea. I am curious to see how this develops. There are other new characters that are shown, but we do not know much more about them.

One character that is familiar is Sarek, played by James Frain. It appears that Sarek will have a special connection to Martin-Green's character. Right now it seems like he will only be in one episode, but his part seems to be significant. He seems to have the essence of Sarek, for the most part. I think it will be very akin to how Ben Cross portrayed the character in the 2009 movie, but not quite as dignified as Mark Leonard did as the original Sarek (and let's be honest, Mark Leonard will be and should be the standard for this character). While I cannot expect every incarnation of the characters I have grown to love to be carbon copies of the originals, I do hope they keep his essence as close to the real thing as possible. 

We also get to see the ship. Discovery looks to be different than any Starfleet vessel we have yet to see. Its design is vaguely familiar, and yet it seems to fit the time frame. Remember, this is before the Original series occurs, but I find it hard to imagine that this class of ship will evolve into more familiar Constitution class in only a decade, but this is the way of franchises these days. As new minds develop the stories, new imaginings are presented. I will say that I like the look of the bridge. I am one that is just fine with a bridge design that looks less like Shatner's bridge in 1966 and more like it was designed with a respectable budget. Some hate the new ship, but I think it will grow on me.

Finally, they show the Klingons. I must admit that this is one that has me a bit on the fence. First, they look different than anything before. Definitely not the Klingons that we would have expected based on the Enterprise and Original Series depictions. I find that a little disappointing, as I thought that the Enterprise explanation for why Klingons looked so different between the Original series and the Next Generation was wonderfully developed, and it looks like Discovery will just ignore that. Too bad. This will definitely get some fans upset, as those of us that are more purists at heart will be wanting, if nothing else, the Klingons to look more like Worf and less like Reptilian Xindi. Having said that, we also must admit that Klingons have always undergone transformations. The Original series had them more like Mongolian warriors, while Star Trek: the Motion Picture started the forehead ridges. Over time, the makeup changed. heck, even Worf went through different headpieces during the seven seasons that TNG was on the air. As nice as it would be to have the look of the Klingons remain consistent, I would rather they keep the spirit of the Klingons alive and well. This is one that I will have to wait and see if it works or not.

That is about all I have been able to gather from the new trailer. While I have often voiced my frustration with the delays, it is nice to know that our patience and waiting is about to pay off. While no exact date has been set, it is almost certain that sometime this fall we will finally have new Trek on television. It cannot come fast enough. While I am cautiously optimistic, this trailer has finally given me more hope than worry. Yes, some are going to hate it. Some are going to love it. I hope all of us give it an honest chance and watch a few episodes before we put ourselves into one of those two camps. Until then, live long and prosper.

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