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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Adventures through Netflix - Star Trek: Discovery Chapter One Review **Spoilers**



So, we've now seen the first full first chapter of Star Trek: Discovery. **Spoilers ahead**

Overview

The much anticipated Star Trek Discovery seems to have divided fans somewhat from what I can tell. I don't know whether my group of Star Trek loving mates is representative of the whole demographic, but I will assume there were those who loved it and those who didn't. 

For want of a better way to describe the series, its very different. Star Trek has always been a "Monster of the week" style show with a few exceptions. What I mean by this is that every episode would start with everything normal, someone dramatic would happen during the crews daily activities, and this would be resolved before the end of the episode (or two episodes in case of two part episodes". 

Star Trek Discovery is a series arc style show, much like the epic saga's that dominate modern television at the moment. I suppose this is a way of keeping up with the competition, but its also a very different way to look at the Star Trek Universe. 

Comparison to previous Star Trek series

Star Trek series have nearly always been set during a time of relative calm in the universe. There were wars, aggressors and big events, but everyone sort of carried on their daily lives uninterrupted and spent most of the time exploring. Discovery is set during the much fabled Federation-Klingon war, that had often served as a plot device to explain various Klingon's motives through the previous series than anything else. 

In previous incarnations, the Federation are based on exploration principles while quite clearly still being run like a military operation, the explanation for this was that they had been required to take up arms at some point while exploring the Galaxy. The Klingon's sort of explained this as they are entirely a war and conquest based species and I guess you might get a bit jumpy when they rocked up. 

The series so far

Discovery first covers how the war started, and it wasn't just that Klingon's liked the shiny shiny spaceships and wanted to bash some skulls like space Orc's (which is obviously what they are supposed to be). According to this series, the Klingon's are more afraid of the impact to their rich culture that a "United Federation of Planets" poses than anything else. This does make sense that the Klingon's and their culture would actually have some depth, because lets be honest, how the hell would a race of warriors with only one purpose, Kill-Kill-Murder-Death, get to the point of space travel and advanced technology? Basically I'm saying they obviously can't all be blood thirst idiots...

My favourite part of the series so far was definitely the first episode. When it begins we meet an ambitious first officer who seems to have learnt everything from her current Captain and conversations are had about her getting her first command. At this point we all jumped to the conclusion that Michael (yup, girl Michael) would get to command the Discovery and take us through the war. Nope, she becomes the first Federation mutineer in an ill fated attempt to try and resolve a conflict. This I though was a very clever way of throwing us all off and making us realise this was going to be a different type of story. 

The series progresses, introducing us to a number of interesting characters, some considerably darker themes such as physical and psychological torture and we also get to see some proper Klingon culture and even some sympathetic and complex Klingon characters. We have of course had Worf before, but we was raised by humans so that was always a bit like, "he'd be a psychopath if it weren't for his sensible human upbringing" which still didn't really add much depth to the species. 

The effects

Discovery is probably the first Star Trek series not to look a bit shit. Being realistic no Star Trek series before this has ever looked brilliant, even for the time they were made, whereas the budgets afforded to series these days mean with pretty much get cinema grade effects straight off the bat. This of course excludes a few of the films with bigger budgets. 

How it fits in with the previous series

OK, we know this fits in just before the original series, I guess I wouldn't dwell on this point for very long because continuity has never really been a big thing for Star Trek. They are obviously much more advanced (they seem to be referring too and using a lot of technology which doesn't exist even in Picard's time) and I feel like the Klingon's would have been mentioned a lot more in the original series had all this fit together perfectly. Also, the Klingon's again look completely different from both the Original and TNG incarnations.

Of course it could be yet another parallel universe, but I'm hoping they just don't both trying to explain it away as it will always leave you thinking it doesn't make sense. It is worth noting that they made a good point of using lots of signature Star Trek sounds, which if your a proper fan you will pick up instantly. 

SUMMARISE!

Its not perfect, I liked the episodic nature of the previous series, but I'm not sure that kind of series would have worked these days, or at least been very popular, it certainly wouldn't be getting a Netflix budget boost. 

It is a good story so far with interesting twists, great characters, a bit of blood and swearing (I'm certain nobody has ever said "Fuck" in Star Trek before) and most importantly its very watchable, even if it doesn't give you that Trekkie feeling.

3.5/5 Slices

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