Redshirts Roundtable: The Outlook of Star Trek Discovery

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Image: CBS

James Becker:

From the waning entertainment of “The Next Generation” films (I still love Nemesis, though), to the cancellation of the first Star Trek prequel franchise, Enterprise, and even the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films which, while superficially entertaining, were otherwise lacking the real substance of Star Trek, I had watched the franchise have a sort of fall from grace and then a struggle to find its identity.

With the announcement of Star Trek: Discovery, I was cautiously optimistic.  It, however, was going to be another prequel franchise, and the various shakeups of its staff during pre-production as well as production itself, left me feeling scared that the franchise wouldn’t be able to find its feet ever again.

Then I watched the first episode of Discovery.  Then the second.  And then the third, fourth, and before I knew it I was engrossed by the characters and the story.  Sure the technology seemed a bit different, but I’m not sure I’d be into a science fiction vintage futurism series, to be honest. Star Trek has always been an optimistic projection of our future, including tech.  And the Klingons were a bit different, but it’s not like that’s never happened before. The Klingon War?  I actually enjoyed the drama of watching the Federation potentially betray its values out of desperation, only to see the crew of Discovery stand up for their values in opposition to the Federation council. *That* is Star Trek, just like when Kirk and crew violated orders to prevent an assassination in Star Trek 6, or the several times Picard had to violate the Prime Directive, or when Riker nearly sacrificed his career to try and save Soren from a psychological procedure to erase her gender identity.

Now in season 2, we see the crew, with a surprisingly entertaining Captain Pike, once again treading a fine line between following orders and doing what they think is right through cooperation, empathy, and intellect.  That is the core of Star Trek.  And even more, the diverse characters are continuing to evolve and grow and just like previous series. Every week they come into my home on my television I learn more about them, I care more about them, and they become more like family.