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Star Trek Discovery #3 [Spoilers] - It's A Wonderful Spock!

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I agree that some fans are disappointed in the show for reasons I don't agree with that have to do with nostalgia or purist expectations. I despise the venom the show engenders among some and the comparisons to the Orville as 'more trek than trek'. 

I know your response wasn't per se directed at me, but I did reference OS and TNG so I want to clarify. I've really liked the look of the show and am not fussed about cannon issues. I like the new Klingons (just don't like how restricting they are for the actors). I enjoy seeing updated tech / uniforms etc because our vision of the future keeps evolving and you don't want to lose that aspect of Trek. They've really amped up the special effects and look of the show beyond what a typical broadcast serial would have. Their stories are complex and long-running so it's not episodic. It's a premium show streaming on a premium service - it has to look it. That's not bad, I just feel like they set their goals high and they don't always measure up.

If this had been a regular broadcast series on a public channel, it wouldn't look as beautiful as it does. I'm guessing the writing might be toned down as well and not be as ambitious. That's where a story like Saru's could really shine. On this particular series, it felt rushed and cramped because there are all these other shiny things to distract you and dangling threads you want to get back to - Saru can only have this much time because Spock and Red Angel and cool Ba'ul effects and spores and section 31 and ... you get the point.

Like I said, I just wanted to clarify that my expectation of the show are based on this iteration of the show and not as a comparison to older versions, even if it looked like it might have been.

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Mmh... I have been lurking on this discussion for quite a while and can't help but think that I'm one of these "hate Discovery for not being Trek, hails The Orville for being more Trek than Trek" guys who get bashed here.

I simply can't deny that these episodes of the first season that I had watched before dropping out were rubbing me the wrong way. I have a lot of concerns in regards to the shoddy writing (and think that I have expressed them here already in more detailed recaps of what I've watched), but I do have problems with Discovery's design decisions that I can't just dismiss as invalid 'just because I want to be nostalgic'. This tendency of Discovery to drop all of Star Trek's previous esthetics to an even larger degree than JJ-Trek ever did despite being set in a moment of the timeline where we know exactly how stuff looked like is not something that strikes me as a decision to 'update' Star Trek and more like a flat-out reboot no matter where I look. Every fiber of STD looks and sounds like it is a show written by people who don't like Star Trek catering to people who don't like Star Trek. From that point of view it makes sense why so many fans of the show are people who haven't watched any of the previous shows. From what I've been reading about the second season however, it seems that in hindsight they have come to the conclusion that they do indeed need their old fans to make this whole disaster pay their bills and that's why they cram in Pike and Spock and old uniforms and Klingons with hair.

I'm just thinking that by now it's too late and I don't think I'm missing out on anything worthwhile. It also severely lacks in optimistic spirit and positive interactions and I don't want that in my Star Trek. That's the main reason why I find The Orville far more enjoyable despite its sometimes crude writing. And now since it has reached "Best of both worlds" levels of action, it competes with TNG on equal footing.

Edited by Toth

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I don't mind if people have that opinion, just when it's used as a cudgel against people that do happen to like and watch Discovery. Or the reviewers who hate watch it and revel in their hatred with their followers. That's the venom I hate seeing.

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Heartofice and Gertrude, I get it. I also have frustrations with Discovery. And I concede that the show sometimes sets itself up for failure. It smacks of desperation when we suddenly see No 1 for literally 2 minutes and Spock's name gets dropped every 5 seconds. But at the same time, people want it to be "more trek" and I'm thinking the writers wrote themselves into a corner they can't quite get out of. I honestly do think the show tried to be itself (which resulted in the proverbial corner the writers wrote themselves into) but that wasn't good enough for the fandom. They're dammed whatever they do; either they're trying too hard to be trek or not trying hard enough.

And I disagree that the older versions could be excused for being products of their time. The old pilot with Pike was better than the stuff that followed in my opinion. For example, and maybe it's a small thing, but No 1's outfit was totally practical in the discarded pilot... then in the later pilot we got the USS Callister stuff (I'm guessing after some screen/audience tests), showing that "progressive thinking" wasn't so farfetched, the show just decided on the USS Callister stuff. For some reason Discovery isn't allowed the same freedom of (for lack of a better word) discovery. I know it's season 2, but they're only on episode 20 or so.

I honestly don't know what to say about how detractors of Discovery like to congratulate themselves for being "true fans of true trek." So I won't be touching that even with a twenty foot pole.

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1 minute ago, Gertrude said:

I don't mind if people have that opinion, just when it's used as a cudgel against people that do happen to like and watch Discovery. Or the reviewers who hate watch it and revel in their hatred with their followers. That's the venom I hate seeing.

That's my biggest frustration. I'm with you here.

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1 hour ago, Gertrude said:

I don't mind if people have that opinion, just when it's used as a cudgel against people that do happen to like and watch Discovery. Or the reviewers who hate watch it and revel in their hatred with their followers. That's the venom I hate seeing.

I guess that's fair. I also have no problem with people enjoying the show on whatever merits they see in it, as long as they don't close their eyes to its flaws and decide that the hill they want to die on is every single one of them (that's the same reason I stopped engaging in any discussions about Game of Thrones, actually). Also I stopped watching comparably early because I noticed that it would have turned into pure hate-watching and I have neither time nor nerve to do that to myself.

1 hour ago, Kyoshi said:

And I disagree that the older versions could be excused for being products of their time. The old pilot with Pike was better than the stuff that followed in my opinion. For example, and maybe it's a small thing, but No 1's outfit was totally practical in the discarded pilot... then in the later pilot we got the USS Callister stuff (I'm guessing after some screen/audience tests), showing that "progressive thinking" wasn't so farfetched, the show just decided on the USS Callister stuff. For some reason Discovery isn't allowed the same freedom of (for lack of a better word) discovery. I know it's season 2, but they're only on episode 20 or so. 

Haven't I read that correctly that TOS is the only show you watched? That explains a lot, really. I also agree that the original pilot about Pike's Enterprise was a far superior show with more nuanced characters. Pike's struggle to cope with the loss of some redshirts on a previous mission and the burden of command blows everything Kirk ever did until the movies way out of the water. There are only about 3 or 4 TOS episode I really like. "Balance of Terror", "Journey to Babel" and "Trouble with Tribbles" certainly stand out as great ones. The rest however is passable at best. Star Trek is a huge franchise with lots and lots of writers and episodes of varying quality throughout various seasons of various shows. Everyone will like different things about it and there is nothing wrong with that.

TNG, at least after the birth problems of its first season, was way superior to TOS and the show where Star Trek found its core of being about a crew of enlightened people exploring space and moral problems. It is preachy at times, but always in a very positive, optimistic way. It gives you that fuzzy feeling that the future will be totally awesome. Try to watch "Drumhead", "Lower Decks", "Q Who", "Darmok" or "The Pegasus project" to see the peak of its writing. A personal favourite of mine is also "Who watches the Watchers?" just because the relatively cliché situation of a medieval society worshiping Picard as a god after an accidental Prime Directive mishap was resolved so magnificently... by simply talking with them. Because they aren't stupid, just on a lower stage of technology. The final scene with the Enterprise crew and the medieval townfolk just hanging out, laughing about the previous situation and having wistful conversations about each other's cultures as they have to part ways, still warms my heart.

DS9 was groundbreaking in the way it approached modern storytelling, even if I personally find the Eddington, Section 31 and the famous 'In the pale Moonlight' stuff too cynical for a Trek show. There is a difference between making your protagonists flawed and turning them into downright villains, with Sisko being a tad too gleeful in doing the latter. But I guess the Discovery crowd will feel right at home there. The Quickening however is still my all-time favourite episode of it. Voyager and Enterprise are commonly regarded as weaker ones, but they are undoubtedly shows that still align well with the spirit of Star Trek (Enterprise at least was after it finally got rid of the Xindi arc). Voyager was in its best form in "The Void" or "Blink of Time", while Enterprise was in "United" when portraying the history of the Federation became a main concern of the writers.

I guess people who have seen these episodes and the pattern of what I like about Star Trek (the optimism, exploration, cooperation and highlighting of moral issues), will probably see why I prefer The Orville and Axanar to STD.

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I think I'll start with the most recent and work my way backwards. Maybe that will improve my experience. Main reason I started with the orginal series was Leonard Nimoy. Loved the guy and he carried the show for me. Plus, and maybe I'm small minded, but like Whoopi Goldberg, it blew my mind that the one black woman on the show even "back then" wasn't a maid. Honestly didn't expect that. So ironic that a certain group of Discovery detractors are so against "SJW bullshit." But that's another debate altogether.

But yeah, I'll concede that maybe I need to widen my Trek knowledge. I'm just dreading having to rewatch 2 episodes of next generation because I honestly have no recollection of what happened and I hate jumping into the middle of a show with no prior knowledge. Another reason I started with the original series. So I guess I can't start with the most recent and go backwards...Ugh. 

On the bright side, I have a new show to binge.

Edited by Kyoshi

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I know Enterprise gets a bad rap, but really liked it. I liked the cast (and the characters, but I love Scott Bakula and really liked the Tripp and Hoshi actors). I appreciate things about DS9, but it's not my favorite, and I could never really get into Voyager.

@Toth, I get why you don't like this iteration - it doesn't have the same tone at all and it really is telling a different type of story than the other Treks. It's not that I love Discovery, but it's working well enough for me right now, and to be honest, I kind of like that they tried a different tone here. Part of the reason I don't love it is that I've never really clicked with Burnham. Makes it hard to love a show if the lead is meh. (not her acting, her character)

Edited by Gertrude

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I think I hate this show; I gave up on it after episode 3 of this current season and really don't miss it. I just can't find any of these character even remotely relatable. Pike is probably the closest, but knowning that he's about to be turned into a vegetable (probably at the end of the season no less), really prevents me from connecting to the character.

 

Micheal is even worse this year, than she was last. Solving everyone's problems and always being in the center spotlight, even when it comes to plots that don't involve her character. I mean if you want to look at Picard, Sisko, Janeway and so on as the main characters of their own shows, that's fine, but a lot of the episodes each season were devoted to fleshing out the cast. We would get Worf episodes, we got Kira episodes, we would get Data episodes, we got Quark episodes, we would get The Doctor episodes, but with this show it really does seem like it's Micheal's show and everyone is just along for the ride.

 

The fact that the Orville of all shows reminds me more of classic Trek should say something, but I suppose comedy is getting strange these days with story arcs and drama. My favorite show currently is The Good place and for a fun comedy shows, it's insane deep when it comes to the philosophy of becoming a better person.

Edited by sifth

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2 hours ago, Kyoshi said:

I'm just dreading having to rewatch 2 episodes of next generation because I honestly have no recollection of what happened and I hate jumping into the middle of a show with no prior knowledge. Another reason I started with the original series. So I guess I can't start with the most recent and go backwards...Ugh. 

Well, I guess that's the good part of episodic shows. In the case of TNG (or Voyager) you could just go for a 'best of' run, jumping into specific episodes and you wouldn't be particularly confused. TNG is just the flagship exploring stuff, Voyager a ship stranded on the other side of the galaxy trying to get home. Deep Space 9 and Enterprise are the only Trek shows with overarching storylines (the Borg invasion from TNG as possible exception). From what I can tell, Deep Space 9 might be your thing however. It might deal with some storylines that were introduced in TNG (notably the Cardassians and the founding of the Maquis rebels), but all things considered those are still pretty self-explanatory. The show deals with the fallout of the imperialist Cardassians withdrawing from their occupation of the planet of Bajor and the Federation establishing a joint outpost in a decrepit Cardassian space station after the Bajorans petitioned for Federation membership. Things go rough after a wormhole to the far-away Gamma quadrant of the galaxy appears above Bajor, causing Bajor to become the crossroads of a plethora of political nightmares. The first episodes are quite a bit dry, but the moment the Dominion War arc kicks in, DS9 becomes a really tense war epic. Like I said above, I don't like it very much because it sets out to deconstruct the utopia of the Federation and the writers seem obsessed with their "the end justifies the means" mindset that turns Sisko into an outright villain protagonist that is still framed as the hero who is always right (the same goes for the endless droning on about how necessary Section 31 is for the survival of the Federation). Fortunately DS9 has a diverse cast of amazing and multilayered characters with everyone having their own spotlights. Odo and Quark! Bashir and O'Brien! Garak! Dax and Kira! They are all great.

Pretty much the only episodes of TNG you need to have watched to understand DS9 are "Q Who" and the "Best of both Worlds"-two-parter, given that the prologue of DS9 deals with the fallout of the Borg invasion.

27 minutes ago, Gertrude said:

Part of the reason I don't love it is that I've never really clicked with Burnham. Makes it hard to love a show if the lead is meh. (not her acting, her character)

Can't really blame you there. Unfortunately I found all the characters on that ship to be insufferable and don't care about any of them at all. I have never seen a Star Trek show where everyone aboard a Starfleet vessel is so pointlessly mean-spirited to each other, constantly throwing bitching fits...

Edited by Toth

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5 hours ago, Toth said:

Can't really blame you there. Unfortunately I found all the characters on that ship to be insufferable and don't care about any of them at all. I have never seen a Star Trek show where everyone aboard a Starfleet vessel is so pointlessly mean-spirited to each other, constantly throwing bitching fits...

I can't engage with any of the other criticisms in any constructive way so not going to touch them, but this? I get why you'd see things that way at the start, but it feels like you're watching a different show if you still think that after the episodes so far in the second season that have had very little infighting/sniping at each other and some wonderful moments between Michael and Saru. The closest is in the most recent one with Saru towards Pike which was very much an exploration of character changes.

On the aesthetics I think it's just an unfortunate position where the only way to sell this show as "the future" to new watchers requires a sufficiently large update that makes it harder for fans to connect to it as "Trek". I'm not an old school Trek fan but I've gone back and watches some of TNG, all of DS9 and most of Voyager and they don't feel remotely futuristic to me. They feel like 80s & 90s ideas of what the future might look like depicted by dodgy props. The biggest disconnect is in the user interfaces - nothing ever feels remotely like any way we actually interact with technology. I don't even know where a tricorder is supposed to be displaying data OR how you input anything into it. By comparison Discovery is a mostly a logical extension of user interfaces for devices in a post smartphone/functional touch screen world. It's necessary for me to actually suspend my disbelief.

This might be a better way to put it - old Trek is more like a Shakespeare play than a depiction of the future. I can imagine the drama playing out and that can be great and entertaining, but it doesn't actually feel like I'm there. Its a different experience.

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Agree that the snarky infighting that plagued the first couple of episodes disappeared. Howver the characters didn’t get any more likeable after that. 

The main issue for me is Michael. She is unlikable by design due to how held back and stiff she is. Unlike Spock she doesn’t pull this off with charisma or charm or with well timed humour, instead she just comes off as the class swot.  The constant attempts by the show to show her human side seem false to me, I never believed her romance story in the first season for instance. Maybe it’s lack of acting chops on her part or the writing but they haven’t balanced the human and the Vulcan dynamic well enough to make her seem complex.

Saru is the only character with any warmth or charisma on the show IMO, and I think the writers seem to know it.

As for the rest, they are either faceless non characters like ‘girl with bits on her face’ or ‘robo person’, or just enormous irritants like Tilly that seem totally out of place aboard a starship ( she is of course the Wesley Crusher of Discovery). 

Without those memorable characters the show is a big fail for me

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8 hours ago, karaddin said:

I can't engage with any of the other criticisms in any constructive way so not going to touch them, but this? I get why you'd see things that way at the start, but it feels like you're watching a different show if you still think that after the episodes so far in the second season that have had very little infighting/sniping at each other and some wonderful moments between Michael and Saru. The closest is in the most recent one with Saru towards Pike which was very much an exploration of character changes.

On the aesthetics I think it's just an unfortunate position where the only way to sell this show as "the future" to new watchers requires a sufficiently large update that makes it harder for fans to connect to it as "Trek". I'm not an old school Trek fan but I've gone back and watches some of TNG, all of DS9 and most of Voyager and they don't feel remotely futuristic to me. They feel like 80s & 90s ideas of what the future might look like depicted by dodgy props. The biggest disconnect is in the user interfaces - nothing ever feels remotely like any way we actually interact with technology. I don't even know where a tricorder is supposed to be displaying data OR how you input anything into it. By comparison Discovery is a mostly a logical extension of user interfaces for devices in a post smartphone/functional touch screen world. It's necessary for me to actually suspend my disbelief.

This might be a better way to put it - old Trek is more like a Shakespeare play than a depiction of the future. I can imagine the drama playing out and that can be great and entertaining, but it doesn't actually feel like I'm there. Its a different experience.

 

You know Star Trek isn't suppose to take place in our future just a possible future. According to the Star Trek timeline we should be in the middle of WW:III right now, otherwise called The Eugenics Wars. That's how you can always suspend your disbelief with technology not matching up.

 

The crazy thing is, I often wonder if the writers on STD know this, because as dark as DS9 got at times, it always at least felt like Star Trek. This however feels like a completely different series; I mean heck they can't even make the Enterprise look like The Enterprise............you know one of the most iconic space ships in all of science fiction.

Edited by sifth

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I've accepted that this is really a reboot, where they'll do some similar things, and diverge on others, so if the ships and tech don't look or feel exactly like they used to, it's fine with me. That being said, I'm not sure what they intend to do about the Picard show.

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1 hour ago, Corvinus said:

I've accepted that this is really a reboot, where they'll do some similar things, and diverge on others, so if the ships and tech don't look or feel exactly like they used to, it's fine with me. That being said, I'm not sure what they intend to do about the Picard show.

The weird thing is, a lot of the problems with this show could have easily been fix had they just made it a sequel to DS9 and Voyager. I just don't understand why they chose to make this a prequel and then not adhere to the established rules of the time it taking place in. I mean for all of the problems Enterprise had, it at least obeyed the rules of the time it was set in.

 

Edited by sifth

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2 minutes ago, sifth said:

The weird thing is, a lot of the problems with this show could have easily been fix had they just made it a sequel to DS9 and Voyager. I just don't understand why they chose to make this a prequel and than not to adhere to the established rules of the time it taking place in. I mean for all of the problems Enterprise had, it at least obeyed the rules of the time it took place in.

Probably to get new viewers in. That’s the idea of reboots, you get start afresh and get a whole bunch of new audiences who have no knowledge of previous iterations.

 

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4 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Probably to get new viewers in. That’s the idea of reboots, you get start afresh and get a whole bunch of new audiences who have no knowledge of previous iterations.

 

but this isn't being sold as a reboot, it's being sold as a prequel. The Abrams films were being sold as a reboot and those I could understand....................to at least a certain extent.

A reboot would imply there was already a Star Trek Discovery before this show happened. 

Edited by sifth

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1 hour ago, sifth said:

but this isn't being sold as a reboot, it's being sold as a prequel. The Abrams films were being sold as a reboot and those I could understand....................to at least a certain extent.

A reboot would imply there was already a Star Trek Discovery before this show happened. 

Is it? I never got that impression, I always saw it as a half reboot in the same way that the Abrams movies are reboots, sort of half in and half out. 

I wouldn’t make sense for the Discovery universe to transition into any known version of Trek.

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9 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Is it? I never got that impression, I always saw it as a half reboot in the same way that the Abrams movies are reboots, sort of half in and half out. 

I wouldn’t make sense for the Discovery universe to transition into any known version of Trek.

Indeed, that's why as a part of the Star Trek franchise it pretty much sucks.

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6 hours ago, Heartofice said:

Is it? I never got that impression, I always saw it as a half reboot in the same way that the Abrams movies are reboots, sort of half in and half out. 

I wouldn’t make sense for the Discovery universe to transition into any known version of Trek.

See this is the problem people have with Discovery. It's being advertised by CBS as a Star Trek prequel that takes place in the prime timeline, yet completely ignores the style, look and technology of that era. I mean heck they can't even make the Klingons look like Klingons..............because reasons.

This is why I really like that Prime Deception vid I linked on the previous page.

Simply put, CBS is lying to us. They're saying Discovery takes place in the main timeline of Trek, when it really doesn't. At least that's what this guy seems to believe.

Edited by sifth

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