Star Trek: Discovery: The Vulcan Hello
September 24, 2017 6:51 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Coming across a relic in space leaves Federation First Officer Michael Burnham between captain and crew of the starship Shenzhou.
posted by Fizz (147 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Engage.
posted by Fizz at 6:53 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Well, that didn't feel like a full episode. Has Star Trek ever gone full story arc without an episodic element?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:54 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that definitely didn't feel like a full episode. I figure they'd give us some action to suck more people in.

Overall, I really liked it. I know things have gotten less expensive in terms of effects, but it looks like it has a massively larger budget than any previous show.

And he opening titles were fantastic. A real nice tie-in to the 1960s roots of the show.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:57 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


I liked what I saw, but I expected there to be more in the pilot. A couple of initial reactions: one, it didn't make a lot of sense that the bridge has a window instead of a viewscreen that could be simply shut off; if it was a window, they should have a shutter for it. And holy hell, I know it's been a while since I watched an entire episode of a program on broadcast TV, but it seemed that at least 50% of the time was taken up by commercials; I didn't tune in to find out about a Big Bang Theory prequel spinoff, FFS. I have to wonder how "limited" the commercials are on the cheaper streaming option.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:01 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Reddit: My God, the Klingons have weaponized the lens flare!
posted by leotrotsky at 7:04 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


That felt like the first 2 acts of a traditional 5 act trek episode
posted by Ferreous at 7:07 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I still can't place a name to a face at this time. But I guess that'll take a bit of time and a few rewatches.

I enjoyed that episode but it felt like a lot of set up to get people to watch the second episode on their streaming service. I feel like in a later season that reveal of more Klingon ships would have happened much sooner and the attack would have already begun by now.

I guess maybe I'm over thinking it and it takes a bit of time to establish characters and their motivations. But it felt a bit slow and drawn out. Here's hoping the second episode kicks things into gear. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to watch torrent.
posted by Fizz at 7:07 PM on September 24


I basically hated it. An albino Klingon who is The One? No thanks. Vulcan neck pinches on the captain that are immediately resolved after a commercial break with a phaser on the bridge? No. A hologram that uses the furniture in the room? No. A number one that seems to combine all the worst aspects of Wesley and Riker and Worf and Data into a single person? No.
posted by xyzzy at 7:09 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


I would hope a person raised on Vulcan would have better planning behind their mutiny attempt. Make sure the Captain is properly sedated. Remove phaser. Disable ready room computer. I mean, at least lock the ready room door.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:09 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


I thought it was a pretty good start. Too much lens flare and too many dutch angles for my taste but I liked the ship design and the sound design sounded like Trek should sound. Now if I could only figure out how to watch the rest of the series.
posted by octothorpe at 7:10 PM on September 24


That was really promising and interesting with solid direction and Star Trekness - it’s just a pity the CBS streaming app is designed to hit the huge boomer audience that wants old episodes of the jeffersons and Perry Mason and Star Trek while no one else is going going to pay an extra 10$ Amonth on top of our allready big streaming service and cable costs for one show so ....


I guess we’ll all touch base in this when it wrapps up and gets on Amazon in like two years!
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 PM on September 24 [14 favorites]


Also I was watching with a self proclaimed Star Trek fan who said it was “too much aliens and technobabble and made up languages” and like wait

Have you seen an episode of this show?
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


too many dutch angles for my taste

Yeah, USS Shenzhou? Yeah, more like USS Amsterdam.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:13 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


The direction felt overly jumpy to me. Lots of really choppy shots of the non main characters crew like robot head and metal scales.
posted by Ferreous at 7:14 PM on September 24


Well, maybe I'm in the minority, but ugh, I hated that so much. Glacial pacing. I hate the new-style Klingons. It's not just the new look (although I hate that, too). These do not seem to share the same culture as the Klingons we know. Where's the loud camaraderie, the infighting and challenges? What the hell kind of Klingon refuses the honor of lighting the beacon? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

And Michael--even if "Sarak has an adopted daughter we've never heard about" wasn't a terrible idea already (it is), how in the world does a Starfleet first officer raised by Vulcans lose control so badly as to nerve pinch her captain so she can attack a ship that hasn't attacked them? And why is the captain coming out of the ready room with a phaser instead of just ordering her off the bridge? Is there no security officer to handle that?

And Sarek, based on nothing, speculates that the Klingons have a charismatic new leader. All he knows is that there's a Klingon ship there and Michael was attacked. No Vulcan would make any assumptions with that data. Just terrible.

Discovery managed to get Klingons, Vulcans, and Humans all wrong. Plus there's a new race whose dumbass super power is sensing death.

And then...it was over? That's it?

I was unlikely to subscribe to another service just for one TV show, but this one definitely didn't win me over. And I went into it hoping to like it. Maybe you can't tell, but STD actively made me mad. So. Much. Squandered. Potential.

At least I have the Orville, the more realistically-plotted, less annoying, more recognizably Star Trek of the two new series this fall.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:15 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


My God, the Klingons have weaponized the lens flare!

“Blinded by the light
Revved up like a Klingon,
Another Vulcan in the night”

posted by Fizz at 7:15 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


"Hey, Captain, my foster father is the Vulcan ambassador to the Federation. He knows some stuff about dealing with Klingons. Maybe you'd like to sit in on this call? He's kind of a big deal."
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:18 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


Great. The first show I've tried to watch on actual TV for years and it starts late so my DVR misses the last 15 minutes. Guess I'll be slinking off back to the torrents for this one.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:22 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


I'm in my mid-fifties and the other CBS shows seem like they're targeted at someone twenty years older than I am. Aren't they afraid of a mass viewer die-off?
posted by octothorpe at 7:34 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Huh I thought it was pretty and kind of liked it?

I do think the Klingon design is an attempt to bridge TOS and TNG... Klingons apparently alter their appearances over time. Though I miss the heavy-metal Worf era Klingons of course. I'm also intrigued that what we think of as traditional Klingon culture is variable, something TNG and DS9 explored..there was honor cults, but also naked politicking and yeah, some cowardice.

I mostly think it's stupid not to send robot probes, but for this series, sending senior officers on needlessly dangerous missions is very consistent.

Vulcans remain the distant father figures whose love and approval we crave in vain. Yeah I could do without that.
posted by emjaybee at 7:35 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


I really liked this.

It is about discovery, and exploration, and confronting the unknown, and all of the things I want Trek to be about. It also centers women of color and gives them excellent dialogue, which is pretty un-Trek, historically, so yay!

It looked pretty strikingly different from a lot of Trek we've seen. I know some people were wringing their hands about how the showrunners were going to pull off a show contemporaneous (ish) with the original Trek series without betraying the original aesthetic of the show. And thank god, they betrayed the fuck out of the original aesthetic; the original Trek looked the way it did because it was made in the '60s, with '60s technology, and because they spent ten dollars on tinfoil and foam for set design every episode. I hope to fuck this show doesn't try to explain every real-world technical limitation in-universe (I'm lookin' at you, augment virus), but thankfully Brannon Braga is otherwise occupied playing with toy spaceships at Seth MacFarlane's house, so I don't think we need to worry about moronic shit like that showing up in the show.

The Klingon stuff was more of a mixed bag. I'm definitely squicked out by the way skin tone was used--a more bloodthirsty side to the Klingons just happens to coincide with, like, midnight-black melanin levels? I'm... gonna need the show to work on that. Yikes.

However, I'm not going to say "this show got Klingons and Vulcans wrong," certainly not after one episode because, well... there's a hell of a lot of the Trek universe to explore, and both of those races have already been shown (in previous Trek incarnations) to include multitudes. Rather than requiring Trek to stick rigidly with what they've already shown me, I'd rather they explore new facets of those cultures and civilizations. We know from Worf and Martok's conversations in DS9, as well as the treatment of Klingons in FFVI, for example, that Klingon culture is infinitely varied and has gone through many periods of renewal and upheaval both cultural and political. And Enterprise, for all its faults, showed us a rather unfavorable yet realistic side of the noble, high-minded Vulcans (so did Take Me Out to the Holosuite, come to think of it). Humans are complex beings that contain cultures by the hundreds; I think it's pretty silly to require that Trek's other races be monolithic.
posted by duffell at 7:37 PM on September 24 [14 favorites]


I think I might've had issues with the pacing if I hadn't spent 18 hours of my life with Twin Peaks: The Return this year. Compared to that (excellent, but sloooooooow) series, Discovery had the pacing of Spongebob Squarepants.
posted by duffell at 7:40 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Watching the credits now. I gotta ask because it's bugging me: In TOS, each ship had its unique uniform insignia, and the Enterprise's was supposedly later adopted fleetwide as tribute to the historic five-year mission. At what point was it retconned that the Enterprise's unique insignia was always Starfleet's insignia?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:45 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Also, I typed "FFVI" above, apparently from keyboard muscle memory (I spent a lot of time on Final Fantasy forums in my misspent teen years) when obviously I meant Star Trek VI. Hah.
posted by duffell at 7:53 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I thought this was so so so so great. I mean some of the acting/dialogue was a little cheesy but it feels like the type of Star Trek I've been waiting for since Enterprise, but instead of people stripping and weird fanservice, we're getting women of color easily passing the bechdel test and I am so excited to know that Sarek had a human ward like that is fanfiction I would have written but it seems like it's being handled with sophistication?

But man oh man is CBS bungling this? No one I know knew it was premiering tonight and we liked the first episode enough (OMG THAT CLIFFHANGER!!!) to immediately download the app, which took like 45 minute to figure out our roku pin and password and credit card we'd had stored in our account 3 years ago and we've started the second episode and it has crashed literally 6 times so far. Three times in the first commercial block. So I'm pretty annoyed about that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:55 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


Also I really love Michael. I want to marry her.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:56 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


It just crashed again and now the Roku is rebooting.

So I think that CBS can't possibly imagine what would be enticing about this? An action-adventure scifi show primarily about two women and their relationship and like, how to deal with diplomacy? Star Trek at its best has never been that sexy and this isn't, I guess. It really seems already like they are trying to bury it and it is so fucking depressing. As is this app.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:00 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Enh, it was okay, for a pilot. I really like that Michelle Yeoh is the captain. It looks like it could be good show, but I'm not paying for a new streaming service for one show, especially when CBS could just show it on their regular station but have instead decided to bilk Trek fans for more money. I'm not rewarding them for that greedy fuckery.
posted by homunculus at 8:03 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


It stated Michelle Yeoh as a guest star at the start of the show so I wonder how long she'll be sticking around or if she'll fade into a more shows up every couple episodes situation.
posted by Ferreous at 8:07 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


We've been now trying to get past the first commercial block for 25 minutes. The app won't load the episode past that and just keeps crashing over and over again.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:08 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


The show does seem to continue the trek legacy of "find an orphaned alien kid? Take em home!" child custody rules.
posted by Ferreous at 8:16 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


The show does seem to continue the trek legacy of "find an orphaned alien kid? Take em home!" child custody rules.

I mean, maybe? We don't really know what happened there yet, do we?
posted by duffell at 8:20 PM on September 24


It was pretty heavily implied but further details aren't there yet. Seems worf adjacent.
posted by Ferreous at 8:22 PM on September 24


One of the potential explanations for the nu-look Klingons is that, as they mentioned, there are 24 Great Houses, representatives of whom are on the High Council. There's been some speculation that T'Kuvma's house is one that's always been around, but just hasn't been seen yet.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:24 PM on September 24


Without spoiling anything for people that didn’t like it, at least go find the second episode somewhere. It is entirely necessary and the two episodes work as one pilot IMO. Not sure why they didn’t honor tradition and make it one 90 minute premiere—it would have played a ton better.

Also not a fan of the lens flare and direction, but Trek, in direction and cinematography, has always been a product of its time, for better and for worse, and Discovery is no exception.
posted by Automocar at 8:25 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


I do genuinely hope that there is room in Discovery for some camp and lighthearted goofs. Trek is just as much horny Scottish ghost episodes as it is pale moonlight or season long xindi arcs.
posted by Ferreous at 8:40 PM on September 24 [9 favorites]


Sorry, I was going to get this post but I had some trouble watching, then I was busy taking notes for it. Guess I will blather here. (I am happy to take this over in future weeks or cede the posts if people just want them faster - this'll take me a few minutes to throw together.)

Stuff:
* The Klingons are new for no reason I can discern.

As others have already pointed out, they've got the new, JJTrek aesthetics. Personally, I find this baffling: TNG-era Klingons were one of the biggest hits in the entire franchise. As we all know, they've got their own language. People dress up like them. Bat'leths have an actual fighting style associated.

I'm not personally the biggest Klingon fan, (I'm more about the Romulans myself), but they're one of the most iconic, fleshed out elements in the entire Trekverse... and it feels like Discovery is tossing a bunch of that. Among the stuff I noticed:

- Funery rites. Superficially, ST:D looked similar - there's the 'look into the eyes' thing and the howl, but Klingon warriors give no fucks about where the body ends up. Putting them in coffins and encasing their ship in them is a departure from established canon, and a weird/morbid one at that.

- Trappings. The Klingon ship was right out of, like, the Go'auld playbook in Stargate, all pointlessly baroque instead of grim and functional. Even the bat'leth was weirdly elaborate - the TNG ones looked like a thing you might reasonably kill someone with, this looked more like something purchased by a Sword Guy.

- It's pretty weird that the Klingons basically just disappear after Enterprise, because that's what the show keeps insisting - I'm nursing a nasty headache, but my cursory Memory-Alpha-ing indicates that Discovery is set about a century after Enterprise, where Klingons were a routine nuisance.

- I miss the old decloaking SFX. Almost all the new special effects were better: I like the Shenzou, I liked the EV suit and so on, but I miss the classic decloak versus whatever happened here.

- JJ-Klingons are just fugly looking. I sincerely liked the old TNG ones.

At any rate, I basically see this as a pointless reinventing of the wheel, aimed to alienate one of the more hardcore portions of the fanbase, and I really don't see what they gain from it.

* The look of the show itself is mostly good.

Like I said above, apart from the awful Klingon stuff, I like the new visual effects, uniforms, ship and so on. I agree with the sentiment that they were correct to ditch the 60s stuff. We've been having a Voyager rewatch for some time now, and it was neat to see how much better this looked than that did. The EV excursion was especially fun, IMO.

I'm not sure what to make of the guy with the LED headset thing though.

* I like the philosophy.

My personal bar for 'what is Star Trek' comes down to: do they want to talk stuff out, or shoot? Discovery passes that test here. Their approach to the unknown object was good. Bridge stuff was mostly good. I like the new captain a lot, and I feel like they did a good job of establishing what sort of a work environment this was pretty fast.

* Pacing was good until the call to Sarek, IMO.

That was a serious drag on the momentum - generally, in a tense situation like this, there shouldn't be time for a call home. Also, Sarek shouldn't have seen the 'new star in the sky' - whatever subspace signal it was giving off would've been perceptible from Vulcan, but the light would've taken years to get there. Unless the signal mentioned 'PS we are shining a big light,' that was a leap. Also, I agree with this:

And Sarek, based on nothing, speculates that the Klingons have a charismatic new leader. All he knows is that there's a Klingon ship there and Michael was attacked. No Vulcan would make any assumptions with that data. Just terrible.

That whole deal was clunky, poorly placed and poorly thought out.

Also, I'm not opposed to a retconned adopted sister for Spock in principle, but I will point out the last time he had a retconned sibling, it didn't go well.

* Michael makes a ton of bad decisions here.

In addition to the WTF-inducing nerve pinch mutiny thing, (too soon, show, too soon!), her landing on the space object was incredibly, unforgivably dumb. I'm not really happy with the writing there - it's only the pilot, and they're having a lot of the plot driven by her screwing up, which is not what I wanna see.

* Death guy is a buzzkill.

This has been discussed above, just agreeing. 'Being scared' is a bad hat to give a bridge officer.

* Technical details were interesting.

Trek technobabble is legendarily awful in spots, but Discovery seemed to be trying harder than earlier shows. The brightness of the Klingon beacon was pegged at 1 billion lumens per m^2, which seems to be about 1000 times brighter than Earth at sea level under generic conditions.

The average temperature in space should be close to absolute zero, and it was here: -268 C is only a little over -273 C. Googling suggests that's a little warm, which doesn't seem out of line given the weird energy stuff going on.

I am, as I mentioned, not feeling great right now, but stupid Treknobabble normally leaps out at me, and nothing really did here, so that was nice.

Overall, I feel like the creators of this show care about what they're doing, but I'm not sure it's working for me. Anyway, off to try and catch the second half, and beanplate that too.
posted by mordax at 8:45 PM on September 24 [13 favorites]


Visually it seemed to me the new and improved Klingons borrowed a bit from the GoT Night King and from the Prometheus Engineers.

I'm in my mid-fifties and the other CBS shows seem like they're targeted at someone twenty years older than I am. Aren't they afraid of a mass viewer die-off?

They will never cancel Big Bang Theory and will create 37 spin-offs of it.

So I think that CBS can't possibly imagine what would be enticing about this?

I think the problem is that their key audience won't find it enticing. Almost the whole time I was watching Discovery I wondered how many times the word "uppity" crossed those viewers' minds--assuming any of them bothered to sit through it.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:51 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I get the sense overall from this ep that their take on issues of continuity or canon stuff that fans of the older series would care about is going to be "fuck it".
posted by Ferreous at 8:57 PM on September 24


Apparently it was Fuller who insisted the Klingons be bald, which is a strange and off-putting choice, since Klingon facial and head hair is an extremely iconic part of the look from the movies through TNG and beyond. Maybe the other houses will have hair? That particular redesign choice seems ill-advised to me, but I'm willing to look past it.

Cloaking tech shouldn't really be around, or in the Klingon's hands, but it did pop up in Enterprise too.

Some of the Klingon stuff is taken from John M. Ford's early Klingon novel, The Final Reflection, which pre-dated TNG and was a bit different from what we eventually saw. It's been a while since I read that, but the "Black Fleet" was definitely from there.

There was a lot of CGI going on, but it somehow seemed less polished than I expected.
posted by Pryde at 9:07 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty meh on it at this point; beautiful SFX but I'm thinking a bit more money into the writing might have given me a reason to care about this ship and the people on it - as it is, I have a human trying to be a Vulcan, a risk averse science officer, and a captain, and none of that is enough to make me care just yet.

I'll probably try to track down ep2, but I need something more behind these characters to make me really engage.
posted by nubs at 9:08 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


WOMEN OF COLOUR
IN COMMAND
IN SPAAAAACE

YEAAAAHHHHHH
posted by emeiji at 9:13 PM on September 24 [22 favorites]


This means a lot to me.
posted by emeiji at 9:14 PM on September 24 [13 favorites]


I can't help but think about the first episodes of other Star Trek shows. Encounter at Farpoint and Emissary both had some of the worst overacting in modern Trek (and were just plain bad, sorry not sorry) and both TNG and DS9's first couple of seasons were pretty shaky. Caretaker was a better pilot, but Voyager took even longer to hit its stride than its predecessors did, IMO.

It's far too early to read the tea leaves on Discovery, but I really liked this episode and I'm excited (and cautiously optimistic) for what's next.
posted by duffell at 9:15 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


Beautiful visuals and bad writing.
posted by Auden at 9:19 PM on September 24


Watching that over-the-air was just... Ugh. CBS only used the commercials to sell their own shows, but MAN ALIVE do they have a horrible lineup of shows. I want to watch none of them! Why would I want their streaming service?

Anyway, the show was a disappointment. I wish we could swap the Orville's cast and this one's.
posted by miguelcervantes at 9:26 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I am a fan of Sonequa Martin-Green in general and was excited by her casting, but I'm not sure what I think of Michael "That Escalated Quickly" Burnham yet.
posted by Pryde at 9:33 PM on September 24 [9 favorites]


I'm willing to give Burnham a shot, but she's not off to a good start. The bickering/witty banter with Saru is out of place in the Star Trek universe. Not to mention the insubordination and mutiny. Imagine if Riker hit Picard over the head with his trombone and took command of the Enterprise at Farpoint station, not even a cool beard can redeem a Starfleet officer after that.

Sarek and Georgiou tell us how great she is, but the writers forgot to make a scene where she proves to the audience how great she is, so it's a bit of a stretch at this point. Hopefully the show will fill in some of the gaps as it progresses. A whole series based on a character who gets a million chances to fuck up because we're told they're somehow the best isn't going to be very fun.

Not crazy about the sound design. The actions sequences were fine, but there was a lot of gratuitous sci-fi noises on the bridge when the camera was focused on control panels. The sounds didn't tell you anything about what was going on, it was mostly recycled Star Trek sounds. The sound design didn't inform the viewers of anything more than, "welcome back, Trekkers!"
posted by peeedro at 9:52 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


I was getting some Abrams NuTrek vibes, and that didn't make me happy. The lumpy Klingons. The lens flares. An emphasis on spectacle over character and plot coherence. Michael insisting the enemy is just bad and we have to shoot first even if it isn't the Starfleet way, only to be proven right. (That felt like a really calculated move to tell us yet again that this ain't your dad's Trek, when I've basically been pining for Dad's trek for like a decade now. My dad's Trek was Trek, FFS.)

I didn't hate it the way I hated the 2009 movie, but I was really hoping Fuller's involvement would bring us something more classic Trek-y and this didn't feel like that to me. Between this and Orville I'd say this may be a better show, but (so far) Orville may actually feel more like Trek. A Seth McFarlane parody/homage should not play more like Star Trek than an actual Trek show does!

But I say all that based on one episode, and it could be that it gets better. Unfortunately I probably won't even get to see the rest of the damn season until it shows up on Netflix in 2018.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:02 PM on September 24 [10 favorites]


So much lens flare!

In general I liked it for a Trek pilot, TNG and DS9 took some time to settle in. This world feels well-fleshed-out with defined characters from the start.

I'm not big into the lore, so a lot of it felt to me like it was trading on some stuff I should know about the Klingons already (although it sounds like you guys think it's off-canon, so) and that was a little frustrating. I liked the ship a lot, although I found the motion in the bridge shots very distracting. I hope not every episode features so much Klingon I have to read on screen!

(Also the bridge felt actually kinda stressful and more realistic, with background chatter and motion, in contrast to a much cleaner feel in other Treks where we only focus on the immediate action. It was well-done, but it made me jittery!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:51 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Watched it, didn't know anything about it going in. It was... ok.

We'll know they are serious about taking risks and doing something new with Trek when they actually set a series in the future. As in post-TNG. So long as they are scared to do that (the film reboot, Enterprise, Voyager cheating by being set concurrently but so far away that is meaningless, Discovery) it means they're still just treading water and milking the cashcow.

That doesn't mean this might not turn into something worthwhile or good but it does dampen my enthusiasm a bit.

All of that said it's kind of immaterial 'cause they'd have to invent entire new branches of mathematics to come up with numbers low enough to represent the likelihood that I subscribe to fuckin' CBS ALL ACCESS.
posted by Justinian at 10:56 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Commencing final pre-launch system checks

Life support nominal

oxygen/nitrogen saturation nominal

Air pressure and flow nominal

Communication module active

Filters at 0.01% saturation
Where's the Mechwarrior 2 *bleep-bleep-bleep*?

There was supposed to be a Mechwarrior 2 *bleep-bleep-bleep*?
posted by mikelieman at 11:13 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


OMG. Just really watched it. Anti Grav boots disengage... Bleep-Bleep-Bleep!!!

I am satisfied.
posted by mikelieman at 11:15 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


I haven't read all the comments yet, so I apologize for any duplication of thoughts here, but at the halfway point of the episode I wanted to jot some thoughts down before I forgot them.

Opening the show in media res with the Klingons addressing the threat they see posed by "We come in peace" is an interesting touch. It places the Klingons at the front of the story, not an auxiliary concern to the interests of the show, where the conflict is seemingly to be centered around opposing perspectives on the imposition of values and what they mean to each side. There is a hint of belief that colonialism may be feeding into that difference in perspective, where the Klingons hear the Starfleet greeting as a threat of conquest without regard for their own values.

The introduction of Starfleet side, also in media res, is nice, allowing them to immediately establish the relationship between Michael and Captain Georgiou as well as give an indication of their abilities and limitations right off the bat. As importantly it starts the show with a Trek tone of aiding and exploring rather than action and a blank slate in terms of the characters. It isn't a origin story like the Abrams movies started with, but something already mature.

The look of the show is obviously not like any of the previous TV treks with the possibilities CGI brings changing the feel of this show dramatically from any previous one, and even from most of the movies. The tone so far is unlike the newest film incarnation of the franchise, much more reserved and thoughtful in its approach instead of leaning towards bold, brash, and dynamic. Captain Georgiou solving their first dilemma through such a simple yet clever means too adds to the feeling this is a show more about solving problems through unexpected means instead of fighting through them.

The credit sequence is really lovely. Starting with plans suggests a design and an ideal, something central to the nature of Trek. The drawings grow into something more real and hints of threats and the uncanny start to emerge as the animated ship flies between Klingon weaponry and space suits are subjected to something like the effect of X-rays. The ship moves through the designs of aliens, threats, and plans of the things it will hold without pause, continuing its journey up until the old TOS music comes where the ship flies offscreen towards the viewer. It's as good a visual/graphic summary of theme as that in the Game of Thrones opening, though perhaps not quite as much fun.

The dialogue for the show isn't like that of previous Treks either. Much more informal in tone and with an implication of a different kind of balance between captain and crew. Whether this is just Captain Georgiou's ship or something they'll be working with more is yet to be seen of course, but it brings a looser, more fluid feeling to the interactions than the more strongly defined delineations in the previous shows. It isn't that there is a feeling of less of a hierarchy, the opening here borders on suggesting more importance to station by the immediate focus on it, its just that the fluidity of the interactions suggests the viewers perspective won't be as clearly focused on a set bridge crew routine as previously was the case. There isn't the same built in iconography of seeing the bridge hierarchy established by TOS and followed through in the other ship based shows of the franchise.

There is also a decided emphasis on tying the dialogue and execution of actions to more current day patterns and thoughts, with the Michael's solo flight being given familiar terminology for current airline travel in the joking narration of one of the bridge officers and then having an NASA like check list of actions before commencing the flight. It seems they are trying to draw more parallels between our now and their then in a purposeful manner.

Michael's flight and encounter with the Klingon goes back to the opening of the show and the idea of "We come in peace" as a threat, with Michael's impulsive actions triggering a defensive response leading to violence. It seems misunderstandings based on faulty perception and failure to think through possibilities is indeed a theme.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:42 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


Wow, they really went with white Admiral lecturing Michael about race? That's, um, unexpected. Michael rebuts the statement with one noting a difference between race and culture and then attempts a mutiny, which after we've been given reason to suspect her of bias, makes it appear as if she's the one in the wrong.

I'm not sure where they're going with this overall, but it isn't killing the colonialist/racial other vibe they started with, but now that's starting to look more troubling than promising. One has to hope they aren't blind to this, or worse, given how heavily they signaled the issue, and hope there may be a plan that makes sense of what's been seen so far in something like a helpful manner.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:47 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Gusottertrout, I'm surprised you'd say the dialogue seems more informal than other Treks. To me it seemed more dry and formal. There was a little sniping between Michael and the one alien guy whose name didn't stick with me, but it was nothing compared to the scrapping between, say, Spock and McCoy or Quark and Odo. But I gather Michelle Yeoh is only guest-starring and this isn't even the ship the show will be set on, so it's probably too soon to draw many conclusions about how everybody will get along.

On reflection, I really didn't hate it. But I sure didn't love it. It kind of felt like Enterprise crossed with Abrams, which are my two least favorite incarnations of the franchise. (Enterprise was just sort of bland and the Abrams stuff can go suck a phaser.) I really wanted something that made me say, Yay, Trek is back! And this isn't that. Yet?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:18 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Just watched it.

Overall liked it, but the scene just before the end of ep one because of the Sound Effects. In Space.

If you've watched it you'll know the scene I mean.

Just so jarring.

Everything else I enjoyed, or was at least forgivable for a pilot episode. Although they'd better sort out some of the unfortunate Klingon racial implications asap otherwise.., eeew.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:25 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Gusottertrout, I'm surprised you'd say the dialogue seems more informal than other Treks.

Perhaps informal isn't the best word, since I'm thinking more in the manner of the exchanges than the jocularity of them. The previous Treks had more of a set pattern to the dialogue than this one has established so far, with the captain not being the center. (Which fits Michael being the lead of the series of course.) The informality comes from breaking previous patterns and having the dialogue directed around the bridge more casually than the older shows where the design of the set and how it was centered seemed to direct the flow of the dialogue.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:28 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Still working through my feelings, but here are a couple of them that I don't think have been put out there yet:

- Every other Trek series pilot had ambition. It tried in some fashion to be larger-than-life. One can critique the acting styles (TNG) or the audiovisual tropes (DS9), but when you factor in the time period, these (even "The Cage") are pilots that make you go "whoah, this is some universe." This episode had none of that. I feel like that's a big deal.

- I actually actively disliked the opening credits sequence. It seemed fetishistic, focusing on friggin' tools. If your show is called Discovery, maybe, I dunno, show us something exotic? Even TNG's later-seasons' opening had a stronger sense of "discovery," to say nothing of VOY's, which I completely expected a souped-up version of. It's fine to do something different (as ENT did, although please please please no Patch Adams song), but this felt at least 50% like pandering. And it felt like a first draft, being all blueprint-y. And I found the music anemic, though who knows, it could grow on me—like Hannibal's did.

- Perhaps most important of all, it left me with…just less emotion than other Trek pilots, and a lot of pilots in general. Here's hoping episode 2 remedies that, if nothing else.

Otherwise, I agree with some of the previous positive remarks (the tech, the cast interactions), some of the negative (Michael's mutiny, violence being the solution, LENS FLARES >8(, troubling colonialism), and some of the WTF (the bridge has Lobot AND one of the Daft Punk guys? Um, OK).
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:43 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


I'll comment on the episode in a bit - I will take the advice above and watch the second episode first, but a question: is this not on Netflix in the US? It's the full-banner-above-the-fold headline here in NL (and has been for a week or so), so plays through without pause or interruption...
posted by Seeba at 4:03 AM on September 25


My speculation is that the series first season will tie in to the talk Captain Georgiou was having with Michael about her being ready for her own command. The opening showed Michael's promise, but also her limitations in imagination in regards to signaling the ship.

Michael will, I assume, be both right about the Klingons, to some extent, but wrong at the same time, which we get an echo of in her comments on the difference between race and culture while also holding the "It's in their nature" belief. Two values that aren't wholly compatible. My guess is that she, as a sort of locus between Vulcans and humans on the one side, will become one between Klingons and humans on the other due to her interactions so far, killing the Beacon lighter and in how she is situated as a bridge between viewpoints. She is already shown trying to strike a balance between Vulcan logic and her emotions, which she embraces happily, so the balance between aggressive/impulsive action and considered reflective action is possibly the other side.

Oh, and I didn't mind some of the credit focus on the objects since that ties the series back to TOS and works with the overall theme I think, but we'll see how it goes
posted by gusottertrout at 4:24 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I appreciate the show putting women of color front and center, but did anyone else think that the new portrayal of the Klingons manages to be even more racist than all the earlier versions? Everything about them screamed "Dark Skinned Savage Other." It was an unsettling way to begin the series.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:08 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


is this not on Netflix in the US?

Nope. The only official way for USians to watch it is a subscription to the CBS All Access streaming service thing.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:45 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Everything about them screamed "Dark Skinned Savage Other."

Very much so, to the point, seemingly, of intentionality since there looked to be some choice of African/afrofuturist influence around the look of the Klingons and their equipment. I have to suspect there will be some major turn around in how Michael and the audience sees them during the run of the series, possibly centered around Michael having to take their side or.and or learn of some Vulcan or Federation betrayal that's led to the Klingon resurgence. I figure there has to be some tie in the opening about the "We come in peace" approach and to the coffins attached to the ship that goes somewhere to that end.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:50 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


I sincerely hope you're right, gusottertrout.
posted by duffell at 5:57 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


* Death guy is a buzzkill.

This has been discussed above, just agreeing. 'Being scared' is a bad hat to give a bridge officer.


Nthing, and it doesn't even make sense, right? Why would you breed livestock to fear death? Wouldn't you breed them to be docile?
posted by mama casserole at 6:32 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Furthermore why would you breed sentient livestock. Seems a bit more onerous than necessary.
posted by Ferreous at 6:44 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


"Furthermore why would you breed sentient livestock. Seems a bit more onerous than necessary."

And yet, pigs.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:51 AM on September 25 [11 favorites]


I think the idea is that they're prey animals (which tend to be a bit jumpy), not that they were ever actually livestock. If it seems implausible to have an intelligent prey species, consider the parrot. Crows are also preyed upon by raptors, and crows are wicked smart.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:52 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


I got the sense that the Kelpians--with their planet's "binary" food chain--were very heavily cribbed from the Runa in The Sparrow.
posted by thecaddy at 6:54 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Then it'd be really cool if the predator species of the Kelpians showed up looking almost but not quite like the Kelpians, with the addition of hidden fangs and discreet claws.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:11 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


"Sapience makes the livestock taste better."

-Stellaris players
posted by tobascodagama at 7:15 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


So now I'm puzzled about why CBS didn't preview the show for critics. It's not quite a homerun but it's a solid start and now after it was shown it has a 76% rating on Metacritic. Why wouldn't they want more press for the flagship show on their shitty streaming service?
posted by octothorpe at 7:49 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I've pondered this too. Two possibilities: either they (incorrectly) have framed it as a total bomb, which is possible because CBS doesn't seem to understand what would be appealing about more thoughtful scifi, or it was an embargo because they didn't want to spoil the major twists of the first two episodes. If the latter, they could have promoted it better otherwise, though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:51 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


CBS doesn't seem to understand what would be appealing about more thoughtful scifi,

From the previews it seems like CBS doesn't understand anything but formulaic police procedurals and sitcoms that seem like they've been beamed in from 1985.
posted by octothorpe at 7:55 AM on September 25 [12 favorites]


Finished watching both episodes last night, but the streaming hiccuped and I think it skipped chunks of time in the second episode. It felt like someone took JJTrek, TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise and chucked in a blender. Take that how you will.

The banter from the bridge officer when Green was prepping for her spacewalk was just this side of Whedon and pretty cringey. I liked Yeoh and Green, though.

I'd probably watch it if it came to Netflix or Amazon Prime but it's hardly must-see teevee.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:00 AM on September 25


I think the idea is that they're prey animals (which tend to be a bit jumpy), not that they were ever actually livestock.

Except Saru describes his species as both "prey" and "livestock" at times, and I'm like, wait, those are two very different things (for exactly the reasons discussed above). Agreed that his demeanor makes more sense as a prey species than as a livestock species.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:02 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Except Saru describes his species as both "prey" and "livestock" at times, and I'm like, wait, those are two very different things

According to Saru's bio (here), the Keplien are a prey species. Having hooves instead of feet apparently accounts for the height (which, wtf - goats have hooves too and aren't over 6 feet tall); and they have "threat ganglia" that go off when a "threat is unseen" but presumably not undetected, because somehow those ganglia are going off.

Anyways, I'm a bit surprised that those would be going off for Saru when there's a giant Klingon ship in front of them; it would certainly seem that the threat is not unseen at that moment.
posted by nubs at 8:14 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Eh, I thought in terms of Trek xenobiology, Saru is fine. No, it's not super sophisticated speciesbuilding but it beats, say, horny space jews (ferengi) or space fascists (cardassians). I like that there's humorous potential there but so far they're playing it straight.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:17 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


From the previews it seems like CBS doesn't understand anything but formulaic police procedurals and sitcoms that seem like they've been beamed in from 1985.

After spending the last 7 years mainly watching what's available on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon, tuning in to CBS is like discovering a lost tribe who never invented the wheel, or an underwater cave full of blind prehistoric fish. Somehow, these things survived without ever touching or knowing about the rest of civilization, and vice versa.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:20 AM on September 25 [21 favorites]


I'm okay with Saru, I mean the explanation of his species doesn't make a lot of sense, sure, but that's nothing new for the franchise. I just think having an extremely cautious bridge member alert for any possible danger isn't a bad thing when balanced against others with a more aggressive approach as Michael shows. It's not a bad thing for a captain to get contrasting options if they know how to evaluate them. On Voyager, Tuvok tends to provide that same sort of cautious note, obviously without the "prey instinct" built in.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:25 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


I also have thoughts:

1) I don't like the NuTrek stylings of the show. Personally, I think it would have been much more satisfying to depict TOS-era Trek with modern special effects. Make it clear that for whatever reason people were way into primary colors and chunky designs for things in that era, and that just because something doesn't look "futuristic" in the shiny metal and bright LEDs way we value now doesn't mean it's not high tech. My one exception is the uniforms, which hit the "uniform but not militaristic" bullseye that Trek is always aiming for.

2) The Klingons. I kinda dig the baroque Night King asthetic, but why the dramatic changes from everything we know and love about klingons? Why doesn't anyone ever feel the need to radically redesign the Vulcans? I would say make a new race of aliens if your vision is unlike past Klingons, but the constant introduction of new never-seen-before-or-since aliens bugs me too.

3) Is that a droid on the bridge? An alien in a weird Daft Punk helmet? What is their deal? Why have something that visually interesting but spend zero time examining it? For that matter, why did we only spend time with our two leads and Science Officer Scaredypants? When has a bridge crew ever mattered this little?

4) I like Michael and the Captain and the idea of a human raised to be Vulcan is a nice twist. Didn't like the abrupt mutiny attempt, especially after Sarek said "please don't use this knowledge to do some incredibly hasty dumb shit"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:30 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


One reason that I wish that this was being produced by HBO or Netflix is that I hate the way the commercial breaks enforce the pacing and length of network shows. HBO doesn't have to have a mini-cliffhanger before each break to encourage you to stay tuned in after the ads for ED medication and they can push the length to 75 minutes if the content requires it. The network template for a 60 minute show interspersed with 18 minutes of ads really constrains what the writers can do.
posted by octothorpe at 8:43 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


From the previews it seems like CBS doesn't understand anything but formulaic police procedurals and sitcoms that seem like they've been beamed in from 1985.

Previews? Heck, I looked at the roster of shows their streaming service is offering so far. Not exactly the newest and shiniest models on offer, but, hey, look on the bright side, this gives us a chance to finally have those Fanfare Perry Mason watching threads everyone's surely been waiting for...

Nash Bridges?

Touched by an Angel?

posted by gusottertrout at 8:57 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


That was stupid. I think what offends me most is that this show was supposed to be the big game-changer for cbs and the whole market. It's almost insulting, they think that thing is the thing that would do the thing and convert me to their cult.

This was bad. My heart goes out to all the trekkies that have to cope with this. I'm so sorry.
posted by adept256 at 9:06 AM on September 25


Yeah, after the Nth commercial for Young Sheldon, I audibly cursed the show for tricking me into watching CBS.

What's the over/under on how long the streaming service lasts?
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 9:07 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Why is everyone assuming that Klingons have no variation in culture, physical traits, or dress? Why should all Klingons look and act the same? There's a huge range of variations in humans, and we're here on just one planet. A species who have colonized many worlds over generations is certain to have huge variation. What's the problem with these ones being different than the Gwar cover bands from TNG?

Hell, this is set before the Original series. If we expect these Klingons to seamlessly blend into Star Trek continuity, they should be a bunch of guys in blackface wearing gold lamé sashes.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 9:23 AM on September 25 [11 favorites]


All the books on the Captain's shelves have names of TOS episodes, and now I don't feel bad about hating this show anymore. What a wasted opportunity for character building.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 9:32 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


"The bickering/witty banter with Saru is out of place in the Star Trek universe"

Absolutely no place. Definitely not.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 9:34 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]




Personally, I think it would have been much more satisfying to depict TOS-era Trek with modern special effects.

I couldn't disagree with you more. Old Trek looks like cheap janky sometimes half-assed sets, because that's all it is. Even the hero sets like the bridge still look like cheap-ass sets, not at all like real or working places.

If anything, I would applaud them if they had a scene set on a Constitution-class ship, and *redid that* to fit a more reasonable aesthetic.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:26 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


What a wasted opportunity for character building.

Huh? I thought that that was a cute easter egg. It's similar to the DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars", in which the cover of the pulp SF magazine Incredible Tales of Scientific Wonder features not only part of a background matte painting from TOS, but titles of TOS episodes with their writers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:59 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


It just now occurred to me that if you put someone in an antiproton chamber it would kill the shit out of them by making them explode into pure energy.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 11:01 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Space magic, dude. We did a rewatch of a Voyager episode recently where they were talking about "antimatter radiation" and I'm thinking, that would be... light?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:08 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Huh? I thought that that was a cute easter egg.

For serious.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:29 AM on September 25


Okay, I was going a bit overboard about the book titles, but I do think that given the fact that many of the Trek captains have been avid readers of literature, seeing what this Captain kept on her shelf could have been more interesting than an in-joke.

I don't hate the show because of it.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 11:34 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


It just now occurred to me that if you put someone in an antiproton chamber it would kill the shit out of them

Interesting. I think making the doctor on the ship into a serial killer is one of the series more interesting choices.

Okay, I was going a bit overboard about the book titles, but I do think that given the fact that many of the Trek captains have been avid readers of literature, seeing what this Captain kept on her shelf could have been more interesting than an in-joke.

I, for one, am looking forward to reading "All Our Yestedrdays"
posted by nubs at 11:47 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


I have to say I'm rather under-whelmed to the point where I'm not going to cross a paywall to follow it up. Maybe it gets better but I just don't need another streaming service. And I'm aghast at the amount of time CBS milked for ads. I kept switching channels to the football game and you could watch a few plays, come back, and it was still a parade of ads for Young Sheldon. 

Among other issues I was bothered by: retcon of Spock having an adopted sister, adopted sister behaving in a manner quite illogical, speaking of logic there was a lack of it in the plot, two steps forward by having two female leads and one step backward for having one of them run through the ship in her white underoos, two steps forward by having two leads who are PoC and one step backward for having the Big Bad of the season be Black Klingons, the way the show treated Klingons in general ignored the established canon plus the ornate beacon was ridiculous and so was the fancy bat'leth, and just everything about Death Guy. Just everything.
posted by Ber at 11:50 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


"It just now occurred to me that if you put someone in an antiproton chamber it would kill the shit out of them by making them explode into pure energy."

Or! It could target cancer cells for eradication! (And wait until you find out what your local hospital is doing with positrons!) I just assumed they were targeted antiproton beams, not, like, an antiproton bath.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:54 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


...it was still a parade of ads for Young Sheldon.

Among other issues I was bothered by: retcon of Spock having an adopted sister...


This is giving me an idea that I'm going to pitch CBS on:: Young Sheldon being adopted by Sarek, giving us a Trek timeline in which Spock is replaced by Sheldon on the Enterprise.
posted by nubs at 11:55 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Oh, and another few things that bugged the living hell out of me. The carving of the Federation symbol into the sand was just ridiculous. A, the Captain should have said what she was doing; B, a simpler symbol would have been less time-consuming considering their dire circumstances, and good jebus, did they actually show a space ship INSIDE the planet's atmosphere. Didn't our relentless mockery of this on Star Trek: Into Dumbness cure these writers of that trope?!
posted by Ber at 12:02 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Commencing final pre-launch system checks

Life support nominal

oxygen/nitrogen saturation nominal

Air pressure and flow nominal

Communication module active

Filters at 0.01% saturation


Rust-proof undercoating applied

Project Runway set to record on Tivo

Marmite preference toggled to "hate"

Background database search initiated for that one actor, you know, he was the guy in the thing with that other guy
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:09 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


So if they are going to keep all fifteen episodes on CBS All Access, once they're all released, you could just subscribe, binge watch all of them and then cancel within the month.
posted by octothorpe at 12:13 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Among other issues I was bothered by: retcon of Spock having an adopted sister,

That part is in character for Spock, at least, who apparently never talks about his family; in "Journey to Babel" he doesn't mention that the Vulcan ambassador coming aboard is his father, until he's kind of forced into it. He never mentions a half-brother until Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I could certainly see him never mentioning an adopted sister. And now I feel a little dirty citing STV as precedent and I need a sonic shower, and possibly decontamination gel.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:23 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


This is giving me an idea that I'm going to pitch CBS on:: Young Sheldon being adopted by Sarek, giving us a Trek timeline in which Spock is replaced by Sheldon on the Enterprise.

I used to watch Big Bang Theory so I can confirm that there was a scene in which Sheldon shared a short story he wrote in which Spock travels through time to the late 20th century to recruit Sheldon as a child to come to the future and join the Enterprise crew. He and Penny act it out as a play as part of Sheldon's acting classes and it ends with Sheldon breaking faux-character and crying that he doesn't want Spock to kidnap him to the future after all. Penny makes a phone call: "Mrs. Cooper? I think I broke your son." *laugh track, fade out*
posted by Servo5678 at 12:36 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


good jebus, did they actually show a space ship INSIDE the planet's atmosphere.

Atmospheric starship flight being something, of course, without precedent in Star Trek.

I maintain that making a show set in a past Star Trek continuity but then refusing to acknowledge the design work that came before you is a mistake. There's certain things that I dig, like the captain's hand phaser would look right at home in 60's Trek, but I remain convinced there's a way to sell the old janky cardboard designs of the original series as just the fashion of the era. Someday this Mass Effect lens flares and brushed metal asthetic will look as dated as the Googie futurism of the 60's, the way the translucent plastic and circuit boards of the 90's fell out of style. Instead of reinventing it like NuTrek make an effort to show what 60's Trek would look like with 2017's special effects. Instead we get lots of holographic displays and LEDs because thats what "future" is supposed to look like in 2017.

Anyway I will forgive everything if the sound designers who are sprinkling old Trek sounds throughout the show manage to sneak in some mechanical relay clacking when somebody makes a computer query.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:57 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Anyway I will forgive everything if the sound designers who are sprinkling old Trek sounds throughout the show manage to sneak in some mechanical relay clacking when somebody makes a computer query.

my headcanon is that it's the relay for the squib in the explosive consoles

(which i noticed they still have)
posted by entropicamericana at 1:13 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


In Canada, it started 15 minutes late, so now I missed the ending.

And I'm still pissed off about the lack of a described video track.

Two strikes, ST:D. Two strikes.
posted by Mogur at 2:42 PM on September 25


Weren't Spock and Sarek not even talking during this era? I mean, we'll see how it pans out but I think it's possible that Spock never even knew about Michael Burnham or something.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:18 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


That part is in character for Spock, at least, who apparently never talks about his family

New fanfic premise: Sarek and Amanda actually have a huge family, with at least a dozen children: some biological; several, of various species, adopted. Sarek tries to raise them all in "the Vulcan way" while Amanda is more tolerant of their differences.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:21 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


So One World meets TOS? I'd buy it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:23 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Weren't Spock and Sarek not even talking during this era?

I was actually poring over Memory Alpha earlier, with the same thought, but I couldn't quite make it work out. While Spock and Sarek are probably estranged by the time of the main events of Discovery, I think they at least still would have been in contact - possibly even Spock still at home - when they first adopted Michael.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:28 PM on September 25


make an effort to show what 60's Trek would look like with 2017's special effects

Sets aren't special effects, so except for the viewscreen and the occasional energy-monster it would look exactly the same as OG Trek.

Instead we get lots of holographic displays and LEDs because thats what "future" is supposed to look like in 2017.

..and if we get more Trek in 2027 or 2032, I hope it looks like what the future is supposed to look like then instead of being cheap, minimal sets from the 1960s. Especially I hope that they ditch whatever elements of 2017-future will be recognized as silly in one way or another by then.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:42 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


That part is in character for Spock, at least, who apparently never talks about his family; in "Journey to Babel" he doesn't mention that the Vulcan ambassador coming aboard is his father, until he's kind of forced into it. He never mentions a half-brother until Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I could certainly see him never mentioning an adopted sister.

It is in character for Spock but the whole thing reeks of fan service/fan fic to me. They're trying to pander to fans and I really hate that. I would be more comfortable if this series took place after Voyager and Michael were an adoptee of Spock's family. It'd still be a little pandering but it'd be better than trying to shoehorn a character in who wasn't part of canon before.
posted by Ber at 3:51 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


I'd much rather have a fantastic character like Michael Burnham built off of fanservice than, like, a Benedict Cumbersnatch!surprise Khan reveal.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:27 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


I'll say it: I thought the crazy-ass ancient space torch of Kahless was fucking cool. Really fucking cool.
posted by duffell at 4:53 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Sarek and Amanda actually have a huge family, with at least a dozen children: some biological; several, of various species, adopted. Sarek tries to raise them all in "the Vulcan way" while Amanda is more tolerant of their differences.

Not gonna lie; I would watch this.
posted by nubs at 5:36 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


Sarek and Amanda actually have a huge family, with at least a dozen children: some biological; several, of various species, adopted. Sarek tries to raise them all in "the Vulcan way" while Amanda is more tolerant of their differences.

Not gonna lie; I would watch this.


COMING TO CBS ALL ACCESS THIS SUMMER

"THE NEEDS OF THE MANY"
posted by duffell at 5:40 PM on September 25 [33 favorites]


good jebus, did they actually show a space ship INSIDE the planet's atmosphere.

There was so much dumb in that opening away mission sequence that the atmospheric spaceflight was the least of it for me.

It starts with establishing that Michael Burnham is an expert in both weather and climate predictions. She looks at some clouds and predicts, to the second, when the oncoming storm will be upon them (it later turns out that she is wrong, which is fine). Then she says that the drought on the planet will last another 89 years, but for some undisclosed reasons there is an urgent need to repair the well or the alien species living on a desert planet will die within 1000 hours.

That's not a violation of the Prime Directive because they are repairing the damage done by some space mining incident but only if they don't make contact with this alien species. But even before the clunky expository dialog saying as much we are shown an alien observing two Starfleet officers casually strolling through their home. After fixing the well, we are shown multiple aliens observing the humans from both afar on the surrounding hills, and then one up close at the well. First contact made!

By the way, the alien well doesn't make much sense. In the dialog Georgiou tells us that this species has existed here for over a thousand years. The well is made of weathered 2x6 boards and has writing on it. The technological development for a written language system and a sawmill requires a lot more than a thousand years (I'm just guessing, I am no xenoanthropologist but I do expect better from Star Trek set dressers and prop people). Burnham, however, is a xenoanthropologist; she tells us she's one when she reveals that her backup plan if they get stuck on this planet would be to revel herself to the aliens and assimilate into their culture. Her commanding officer is totes cool with her plan to violate the Prime Directive and doesn't rethink promotion she just offered.

So Burnham and Georgiou openly walk through an alien village and repair their vital infrastructure using their magical futuristic technology while being watched by a primitive alien species, then a giant ship flies into the atmosphere and they are beamed off the planet's surface while possibly still under the observation of the aliens. Cool.

According to the rules of the Star Trek universe that have been established in canon for 50 years, this was a failed mission and a violation of the Prime Directive. I see this but the characters seemingly do not. This leaves me to conclude that either Burnham and Georgiou are lousy Starfleet officers, that this a lousy Star Trek show, or that being a grouchy nerd-pedant drains the fun out of everything.
posted by peeedro at 6:20 PM on September 25 [9 favorites]


I think they don't have the prime directive per se. They talk about it as violating something similar sounding, but not identical to prime directive. Perhaps it doesn't have the same import in that era.

The "we can't get caught" then walking through their colony was dopey writing/direction though.
posted by Ferreous at 7:01 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


They called it General Order 1 which is another name for the Prime Directive.
posted by peeedro at 7:17 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


COMING TO CBS ALL ACCESS THIS SUMMER

"THE NEEDS OF THE MANY"


"And who was that, Amanda?"
"That was Selket — I think he's a friend of Sybok — no, T'qara."
"That is the third child I have seen this afternoon that is not one of ours."
"I thought 'Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations' was a cornerstone of Vulcan philosophy, Sarek."
"This house is rapidly approaching infinite diversity, Amanda."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:00 PM on September 25 [22 favorites]


*CANNED LAUGHTER*

And coming this fall: Young Selket
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:24 AM on September 26 [8 favorites]


Some of this conversation is giving me bad flashbacks to when all my friends were astrophysics, geophysics, and math grad students who would argue about the scientific plausibility of ST: Voyager.

ST has never been remotely interested in plausible science. That can't reasonably be an objection if you've ever been a fan of the show. I do get annoyed when a movie or show attempts verisimilitude on several things (often ostentatiously) but gets other stuff egregiously wrong. But Trek has never really made any implicit claims of this kind. Most SF shows have technobabble to some degree, but there's a reason the term was coined with regard to Trek. I've been a Trekkie all my life and this has never been an issue for me, although it sometimes is with other shows.

My verdict: I liked it. It wasn't terrible, as I feared, although it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. But I've watched the premiere of every Trek show except TOS when they aired and I've been underwhelmed on each occasion. I hated both TNG's and VOY's premieres. DS9 I was neutral about and I honestly can't even recall ENT.

By those standards, this was actually pretty good. Maybe the best of a very poor-to-mediocre bunch. Trek series always get better over time (though occasionally that's not saying much).

Anyway, I can't see how anyone could judge this from the first episode alone -- the two episodes form a whole premiere. And, even then, we don't really know what the show's going to be like.

There's really a lot we don't know about Sarek, so I'm inclined to wait and see if this will make sense. Likewise with the Klingons -- in DS9 we learned there was some not-spoken-of-taboo reason for the change in appearance between TOS and TNG, so the writers could come up with something.

My sense is that the Klingon's anti-Federation sentiment is a function of the "soft" imperialism of the Federation. That is, it's presenting the Federation as analogous to the modern US-centric global hegemony -- arguably benign relative to some of its predecessors, but still imperialistic in more subtle ways (thus the lie of "we come in peace"). The US hegemony has led how many invasions now? And more to the point, over and over the Trek shows have had its protagonists violate the Prime Directive, as well as using military force to achieve what is presented as a desirable objective. Maybe these Klingons have good reasons to disagree. I think they will be presented more sympathetically than many expect.

That can still end up very problematic -- presenting the Klingon's violence as inherent while implicitly using them as a stand-in for some group today (even if it's a cultural and not a racial claim).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:25 AM on September 26 [6 favorites]


My verdict: I liked it. It wasn't terrible, as I feared, although it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. But I've watched the premiere of every Trek show except TOS when they aired and I've been underwhelmed on each occasion. I hated both TNG's and VOY's premieres. DS9 I was neutral about and I honestly can't even recall ENT.

I remember Enterprise's premiere. Scott Bakula talking to a dog and a Vulcan getting near-naked and smearing goo all over one of her crewmates in a "decontamination chamber"/fanservice room.

It was not good.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:28 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


I remember Enterprise's premiere.

I love the teaser to "Broken Bow". A Klingon - the first Klingon to encounter humans - crashes in the American midwest and is shot by an angry farmer who doesn't know what he's dealing with. It's such a clash of past versus future. It's all downhill after that, but what a thematic setup!
posted by Servo5678 at 7:58 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


"THE NEEDS OF THE MANY"

"You always said you wanted a large family, Sarek."
"Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting, Amanda."

Spock turns to camera, eyebrow raised. "Fascinating."

*laugh track*
posted by nubs at 9:54 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


Spock turns to camera, eyebrow raised. "BAZINGA."
posted by Servo5678 at 10:29 AM on September 26 [6 favorites]


My sense is that the Klingon's anti-Federation sentiment is a function of the "soft" imperialism of the Federation. That is, it's presenting the Federation as analogous to the modern US-centric global hegemony -- arguably benign relative to some of its predecessors, but still imperialistic in more subtle ways (thus the lie of "we come in peace"). The US hegemony has led how many invasions now? And more to the point, over and over the Trek shows have had its protagonists violate the Prime Directive, as well as using military force to achieve what is presented as a desirable objective. Maybe these Klingons have good reasons to disagree. I think they will be presented more sympathetically than many expect.

There have been multiple objections to being part of, or even dealing with, the Federation on these grounds in the franchise. The Klingons' reaction to finding out about the Genesis Device in the TOS movies was to consider it a threat, which was even more justified when it proved to be worse than useless for its ostensible purpose, and the aftereffects of their attempts to find out more about Genesis were present even as they were negotiating a peace treaty with the Federation following the Praxis accident. Some Klingons were still fearing Federation hegemony in the next century and trying to rebel against their own government as a result ("Heart of Glory"), and it was probably also one of the political motivations for Gowron setting the Khitomer Accords aside in DS9. Also, the Maquis rebellion was founded in part on that (see Eddington's speech to Sisko in "For the Cause", in which he compares the Federation to the Borg, and says that at least the Borg are upfront about their assimilation), and later Seven of Nine, shortly after her deassimilation, calls out Janeway for not letting her return to the Collective with much the same comparison. And then, of course, there's the root beer metaphor.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:15 PM on September 26 [8 favorites]


The root beer scene alluded to in Halloween Jack's link. One of Quark's finest moments.
posted by duffell at 3:20 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


I really hated this. It felt like the Dutch angles and generic overdramatic score were supposed to distract us from the terrible writing. Fanatical space orcs make boring villains, and "they killed my parents" is the laziest imaginable motivation. They are fearsome warriors, and yet their sacred representative dies on his own blade the moment someone trips over him. They've barely been heard from in the past hundred years, and yet the very person who discovers their plans for galactic conquest just happens to have lost her parents in one of their apparently-rare terror raids. A 30-second history lesson about something that happened 240 years ago convinces an experienced officer to assault her superior, unlawfully take command, and launch an unauthorized preemptive strike at another ship.

Above all, though, war porn about how you have to use violence against the scary racialized hordes is really not what I want from Star Trek right now.
posted by Gerald Bostock at 1:13 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Haven’t watched the second episode yet, but my first reaction was basically that it was like if the new Star Trek movies had been based on Star Trek.

It’s exciting and dumb in places, but at least as not as dumb as, say, Into Darkness. I’d love to see a post-DS9 series, but that would require acknowledging the existence of any Star Trek series after TNG (and given CBS’s apparent target demographics, acknowledging any series beyond the original seems risky?)
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:54 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


A 30-second history lesson about something that happened 240 years ago convinces an experienced officer to assault her superior, unlawfully take command, and launch an unauthorized preemptive strike at another ship.

Yeah, this was the least-Trekky part of it for me, especially when you're saying that the one who did this was the one who was raised as a Vulcan.
posted by corb at 4:37 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


One minor but annoying gripe: I spent much of this and the next episode wondering how the Starfleet uniforms depicted rank. Other than Captain Georgiou's extra gold in the epaulette area (which spreads to the top of the arm for admirals) I couldn't see how more junior officers were distinguished.

So I looked online, and apparently there are small pips on the bottom edge of the Starfleet badge.

If - as I've seen suggested - the writers end up showing the evolution towards TOS-era uniforms, at least we know why they ended up with prominent gold braid on the sleeves. It will have been because with the previous uniforms nobody could tell a lieutenant from a commander at less than six feet.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:16 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


I would hope a person raised on Vulcan would have better planning behind their mutiny attempt.
  1. Raised on Vulcan, but not even half-Vulcan. Possibly she tries to act logically and Vulcan-like, but isn't the best at actually being so. So, Vulcan mannerisms, but plenty of human illogic and impulsiveness?
  2. This seems like it's bringing back traumatic memories of surviving that Klingon raid on the Human-Vulcan science center. A PTSD-triggered impulsive response?
I haven't yet watched the 2nd episode, so I'm waiting to draw any significant conclusions until I see how this pays off.
posted by JiBB at 8:28 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


It just occurred to me that, since the Vulcan adherence to logic is entirely cultural and not at all biological, all the shit they give to Michael and half-human Spock is just racist arrogance.

And any feeling Spock has about struggling with his "human side" is strictly about honoring his mother's cultural upbringing, not about having a more emotional side of his biology.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:17 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Not abusing the edit window, but now I want to see a Klingon follower of Surak.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:18 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Who's to say Sarek didn't have an adopted Klingon child he never told anybody about?
posted by tobascodagama at 12:58 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I worry that Discovery will never so much as mention Surak due to the assumption that viewers will be unable to differentiate his name and Sarek's.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:00 PM on September 29


MetaFilter: And yet, pigs.

I have just seen the first episode; a little underwhelming, but not nearly as much as any other series (and I have seen them all as they arrived, save for that time in 1966 when I was busy gestating and probably didn't have eyes yet). Yes, the production design was more in the Abrams vein than would be ideal, but as ROU_Xenophobe points out, there is no virtue to saddling a 2017 show with half-century-old designs for ideological purity. I know that if the original series had come along five or ten years earlier, there would still be Trekkies engaging in flamewars about how the everything from TNG on is crap because they are not in black and white any more.

Saru's shtick is going to get tiresome fast unless there is growth. It puts me in mind of the circa-1990 jokes wherein the unknown ship fires a spread of quantum torpedoes on the Enterprise and Troi pipes up that she senses hostility. Cool.

Am I the only one who assumed that the pale Klingon was an albino? Certainly not unprecedented, nor was atmospheric flight of starships in this era.

And yes, there is stuff that is unexplained so far. I dig Ensign Daft Punk.

I worry that Discovery will never so much as mention Surak due to the assumption that viewers will be unable to differentiate his name and Sarek's.

Ah, someone else who remembers Gandalf's struggles against Aruman.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:16 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who assumed that the pale Klingon was an albino? Certainly not unprecedented

Haha, yeah, my mind immediately went to that DS9 episode. And the funny thing is, assuming The DS9 Albino was in fact a Klingon (which is unclear, since IIRC he makes racist remarks against Klingons in the episode), he's the right age to be Voq. Not that there's any chance in hell that the DSC writers intend this.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:00 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


he's the right age to be Voq. Not that there's any chance in hell that the DSC writers intend this.

I think you are right on both counts. I have no doubt the fanfic people will be on it before long, if they are not already.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:03 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


I've watched a fair amount of Star Trek, and Star Trek pleases a deep, very young part of me, but fortunately, I feel pretty unhampered by wanting Star Trek to be a certain thing. It's so comercial already, and many of it's incarnations have't grabbed me, so I was ready to just watch this show, enjoy the Trek-yness of it, and not be too stressed about what it should be, and I really loved it!

The main thing is the Captain/First Officer dynamic which is just a wonderful and smooth cooption of the usual man/man dyad. They interacted and played off each other naturally and admiringly. Their relationship felt real and it felt exciting and dynamic.

There was fun candy in there for Deep Trek fans (I enjoyed the Technical Manual-style credits and the sound design) but I welcome the evolution of the Star Trek brand to truly include and foreground women and people of color and hopefully some new storytelling.

I fear where they're going with the racial essentializing (they nodded, weakly, to the problematicness of that when Michael differentiates race and culture) but so far, and overall, I liked it, my 15 year old liked it, my wife liked it. It's not the best thing I ever watched, but lord knows there is no iteration of Star Trek that is great art.
posted by latkes at 10:41 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Terrible, terrible garbage, yuck. Bad writing, wooden acting, nonsense science, plot holes, cliched backstories, grossly racialized enemies (and no, redeeming them later doesn't redeem the racialization), and awful, un-Trek morality. The last is what caused me to throw down the remote after episode 1. I look forward to a season of carefully exploring these issues:

• Preemptively murdering a ship's worth of people: usually right, or sometimes possibly mistaken even if you're really sure?
• Physically assaulting a coworker: always justified and forgivable, or just if you know they like you?
• Lying and mutiny: always an option, but how to do it right, since presumably everyone does it too?
• Painfully disfiguring yourself: cool and macho, or just necessary when making a point?
• Albino blacks: stand-in for whites, or just a worse form of racism? An important point to explore!
• Not disturbing native peoples: just a joke, or an important plot mechanism too?
• War: yeah, it's cooler than exploration, but how do we add sword fights to space?
• Cowardliness as a superpower: this might have featured just a tad of homophobia and misogyny when Larry Niven did it in 1970, so how can we use our well-established political sensitivities to resurrect such an awesome power?
• Racial essentializing is racist, but cultural essentializing is fine if it drives a good plot, right?

Ok, I'm out for now, and will never watch another episode to add to this list, but I'm sure many other classics will bear close examination in the future, such as:

• Torture: let's explore once again when exactly that ticking time-bomb requires it.
• War: is every member of that race -- sorry, culture -- your enemy, or can you learn to forgive a few here and there?
• Respect for authority: how many people do you have to beat up or kill to get your underlings to properly respect you?
• Helping a people oppressed by another: there's got to be some way to solve this problem with phasers and bombs, right? Let's think about how violence can achieve it.
• Lessons learned: violence has its place, but sometimes violence is bad.
posted by chortly at 10:09 PM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I'm liking the show so far, but I have to say chortly's criticisms are the best and most important I've seen. If the show doesn't manage to find a moral center, I'm gonna have to peace out.
posted by duffell at 5:19 AM on October 4


Hmm... I can see these criticisms but... Almost every complaint seems like stuff you can find in original Trek? I mean, this is Star Trek? It always had some really progressive threads and some dumb threads and some offensive threads, and lots of inconsistencies. They broke the prime directive every other episode. Fist fights were the bread and butter of the show. I find this Trek more progressive than previous Treks (the female comradere thing is radically different than any previous Trek I've seen, for one thing) But different strokes I guess.
posted by latkes at 7:41 AM on October 4 [6 favorites]


I liked the tell Starfleet 'We have engaged the Klingons' as a direct reference to Picard in Best of Both Worlds, where he gave the order to tell the admiral 'We have engaged the Borg'.
posted by biffa at 1:46 PM on October 8


« Older Philip K. Dick's Electric Drea...   |  Podcast: Chapo Trap House: Epi... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster