Star Trek Discovery: The Future of the Franchise of the Future

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Mark your calendars, September 24, 2017, has finally been revealed as the official release date for the new Star Trek Discovery pilot.  It will air on CBS with the remaining episodes being accessible to subscribers of CBS All-Access. While this subscription only availability is an issue worthy of debate all on its own, I would like to focus on some of the aspects of this show I am most excited to see.

Taking place after Enterprise and roughly 10 years before TOS, the feel of this Star Trek seems to fall between the original shows and the new Kelvin universe.  This makes sense as much of the “futuristic” technology we see in TOS and its successors are behind what we have even today.  A slight alteration in style and design is needed to keep up with our current availability of technology and vision on where it could go.  They haven’t completely left behind TOS though.  Seeing Kirk-era style communicators, ship designs and transporter effects are welcome sights.  The uniforms are a wholly new design but look to me like a great bridge between the militaristic uniforms of Enterprise and the jumpsuits that followed.  If the trailers are any indication, the show will be visually stunning and that is worth seeing in itself.

While the main storylines are not yet known, some guesses can be made from watching the trailers.  The Klingons are the obvious antagonists, at least to start.  However, these look like they are a very different Klingon than we are used to seeing.  This could be due to a simple update as with many aspects of the show or could point to the crew of Discovery encountering some group of Klingons living outside the Empire.  Either way, this series seems to follow the modern trend of less episodic storytelling with a full story arc being presented and solved each week, and, hopefully, promises some greater arcs that will span seasons or, perhaps, the entire series.

Another deviation from its predecessors, Star Trek Discovery will not focus on the captain of a ship (or station), but rather its first officer played by The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green.  She is human but has strong ties to Vulcan as the first human to attend the Vulcan Science Academy.  Sarek, as many of you know already, the father of Spock, will be ever present in the series as her mentor and teacher.  I am excited to see a Star Trek saga play out from this slightly different perspective.  She may not be the final say in the tough decisions, but that, I’m sure, will only add to the internal conflict she feels if events go against her instincts and gut.  Her acting in the trailers is spot on, and I am very excited to see what she brings to the Star Trek universe.  

As for the captain, he has been revealed as none other than Lucius Malfoy…I mean, Jason Isaacs.  I have long loved the characters he has played, although, my favorites have always been with him playing the antagonist.  I am excited to see him in, what I assume, will be more of a good guy role.  Not to say that he won’t play antagonist to Martin-Green on occasion I’m sure.  The two of them bring some known acting ability to the show and their dynamic is one I am very much looking forward to being explored.

Each new Star Trek show has introduced a new race as a member of its crew.  TOS had a Vulcan, TNG had a Klingon, Betazoid, and Android, DS9 had a Changeling, Ferengi, Trill and Bajoran, VOY added a hologram, Talaxian and a Borg and Enterprise had their Denobulan Dr. Phlox.  Lieutenant Saru will fill this role on Discovery.  While his exact species has not yet been identified, the trailer does let us know he is genetically engineered to “sense the coming of death.”  While this could play out well and make him a Troi-like asset to the crew, I just hope he doesn’t “sense death” every week, as that could get a little old.

Overall, I am just as eager and excited to see a new small screen spinoff of my favorite series.  While I try to temper my expectations, the trailers and news released thus far has made that more and more difficult.  As long as Discovery stays true to the shows of my childhood in its overall message and feel, I am fine with a bit of modernizing for the sake of bringing in a new generation of fans.  All I know is that Star Trek is still going strong after 50 years and I for one am hoping for 50 more.

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