Monthly Archives: May 2017

‘Discovery’ First Look

Well that’s disappointing. It might seem like I’m deciding to hate this series before seeing it, but what’s really happening is that I’m simply not liking most of what they’ve shown. On the plus side, I think the cast looks great. Beyond that, there just isn’t very much to cheer.

The prequel setting has been covered by many as a terrible idea. It’s just never going to be as interesting as pushing forward into the future; into the unknown. That’s what Star Trek used to be about, before it was hijacked by JJ Abrams and his cult of Boomer nostalgia mongers.

My big problem with what we see in this trailer is the production design. Everything about it looks like JJ Trek. The overly colour graded look of the shots. The high contrast lighting style. The shiny, grey metal surfaces. The lens flares. That does not look like an environment I’d want to visit, let alone live in. Who didn’t wish they could visit the old Enterprise, or have a drink in Ten Forward, or walk along the Promenade and meet friends at Quark’s? Those places were warm, inviting, and optimistic. This series looks soul crushingly bland, and most importantly, it doesn’t look fun. How a show looks tells you all you need to know about it. It’s the body language of a series. Here, even the Klingons, one of science fiction’s all time classic aliens, have been completely redone. Star Trek’s motto from now on: needlessly redesigned.

I read an interesting commentary on this trailer and how it compares to the way the Star Wars franchise treats its history. When ‘The Force Awakens’ or ‘Rogue One’ were made, no one came up with a new look for the Millennium Falcon. No one offered their take on the X-Wing. Sure, the models and assets were beefed up and improved for a modern film, but there’s no confusion that they are the same ships we’ve all grown up with. The people working on contemporary Star Wars love and respect it. So when the time comes to create something new, they work around what’s been done before and make sure it all fits together. Not so with Star Trek. The people working on modern Trek think it’s tacky and dated. They don’t love or respect the original works and therefore are willing to wipe the slate clean and update everything, keeping only the tiniest forms of fan lip-service the marketing department has asked for. They think old Star Trek sucks.

Marketing is what is really driving this new show. It looks this way because the JJ Abrams movies look this way, and CBS has decided to try and leverage them to build their ridiculous online streaming service. Revere Trek’s history? Who cares! Appreciate continuity? Boring! Now Star Trek on TV looks like those movies you saw a few years ago, so come and watch, for just $10 a month!

No sale here.