Star Trek: Discovery premiered six years ago, a reminder of how it failed to live up to its lofty expectations.
Six years ago, on the CBA All-Access streaming service, Star Trek: Discovery debuted. It brought Michael Burnham to the front and center of the Trek universe and brought with her high hopes, promising to bring fans back to a universe that hadn’t seen a series in 12 years; when Star Trek: Enterprise ended.
Unlike past shows, this version of Trek would be debuting as part of a streaming service, a novelty at the time. Everyone was excited for the show, with the hopes that Sonequa Martin-Green, fresh off of a star-making run on The Walking Dead, would embody Burnham and become the actress needed to bring the franchise into the next era of great Trek content.
Sadly, for all involved, the show never found its footing and the maligned first season did more to insult and belittle the Trek fandom by telling them repeatedly the things they liked weren’t good enough. With unnecessary changes to canon, character relations, and established alien lore, long-time Star Trek fans turned away from Discovery in droves.
The second season wouldn’t fare much better, but it would give fans hope, as it was the launching point for Christopher Pike to join the franchise as a full-time character, played wonderfully by Anson Mount.
Still, with the fifth and final season around the corner, Star Trek inadvertently reminded us of the failed promise of Discovery with a recent treat. Telling us all once again that this show failed to live up to the promises made.
Star Trek: Discovery will go down as a purposefully divisive show meant for everyone but Star Trek fans
Discovery wasn’t the show that fans were promised, and after four seasons, with a fifth and final one on deck for 2024, it will forever remain a testament to many fans of failed promises and expectations. The show was anything but Trek. It was dark, filled with obscure concepts and storylines that catered to the smallest audiences possible. It wasn’t for Trekkies, it was for everyone who thought they were too good for the franchise.
Created and helmed by people who didn’t know or like Star Trek as it was, it did everything it could to distance itself from Gene Roddenberry’s vision and the established lore that has come from the franchise in the ensuing decades.
Its change in the Klingon design is the most notable thing that irritated fans, but their overabundance of said Klingons and the mirror universe soured both concepts for fans. It became clear that the show was just looking for gimmicks that long-time Trek fans would take interest in, without giving them a show that felt anything like Trek.
For instance, making Burnham the sister of Spock, a sister Spock never mentioned before. It was a risk that didn’t work, but then again it was clear that the people working on the show didn’t like Trek. It’s not to say they hated Trek, but they clearly weren’t fans.
There was no care for the lore, or what the fandom wanted to see. It was all about growing the fanbase past the core group, a move that has backfired in other realms in recent years. Discovery trying to grow the fandom was a good call. Ignoring past Trek fans and what they needed from a show was not.
It hurt the sustainability of the franchise to the point that the current streaming service, Paramount+ has been ending Trek shows left and right. While they’re among the streaming services’ most watched shows, specifically Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the fact is that the streaming service does not have the numbers to warrant the money they spend on Trek shows.
And considering how damaging the first two seasons of Discovery were to the Trek brand, it’s not surprising. While the show has had its fans over the five seasons, there should’ve been more. The lack of fan support is highlighted, if not by the lack of numbers surrounding streaming, then by the fact the show has had several soft reboots over the years to get fans to stick around or come back. Seasons three, four, and five are drastically different from than others all to help sustain or increase viewership.
It hasn’t worked, and now Discovery will end its run after just five seasons, bringing to an end the show that nearly doomed an entire franchise.