Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Vulcan Eff You

After having viewed the first four episodes (giving it the same fair shake as The Orville), it is time to address the 800 lb. Mugato in the room, Star Trek: Discovery, or STD. 

Never has there been a more accurate abbreviation. 

The Vulcan hand gesture, originally thought to mean 'Live Long, and Prosper',
turns out to be the equivalent to the 20th century Earth middle finger.

It translates directly from the original Vulcan as, 'Eat Protons, and Die Suckers'.


I have been pondering what I would write regarding a Star Trek: Discovery 'review' for sometime now. With each episode, I had to tell myself, "Wait for the first four. You can't speak on it until you've seen the first four." Now that I have, I wonder why I waited. My feelings didn't change much between Episode 1 - A Vulcan Hello (the title of which makes me literally sick to my stomach), and Episode 4 - A title so long and pretentious that I am not even going to humor CBS by writing it here. 

Simply put, I don't like it. Not at all. 

I don't hate Episodes 3 and 4 as much as I do 1 and 2, which are absolutely dreadful, but I still do not like any of them. 

This disappoints me a great deal. This was their chance to make a great impression on a new generation of viewers, and recapture the loyal fan base they spurned with those terrible Abrams films. They did not accomplish the latter as far as I'm concerned, and the former remains to be seen.

I hardly know where to begin.

To me, Star Trek is about the exploration of the Human condition through the trappings of Science Fiction. Along the way, we experience exciting, Sci-Fi/Space Opera adventures, futuristic technology, interesting characters, intriguing aliens, and visit cool planets/locations.

This show is not Star Trek. It has none of these things.

We are exploring the same condition again, and again. War.

DS9 explored Humans, and their allies in the Federation at War. The movies addressed the subject several times. Battlestar Galactica, old and new, Babylon 5, and far, far too many other TV Sci-Fi shows take a look at it. 

I am tired of war. I am so f*^#ing tired of it. I am particularly tired of it in universes as vast and advanced as this one. Move on. Evolve. There is more to life than death and killing. So limited in scope, so one dimensional. 

Exciting Space Opera adventures? Maybe. Not in the first two episodes. Only war, death, a poorly executed Prime Directive reference in the very beginning. Just...ugh.

Futuristic Technology? Sure. Lots. Far more futuristic than any of it should be based on the fact that this series supposedly takes place 10 years prior to The Original Series. Yeah.

Interesting Characters? OK, here I will rant a little...in the first two episodes there is literally one notable character - Michael Burnham - who I could not stand. Completely despise this main and only real character.

She is overly emotional for someone trained on Vulcan to be an unbeatable Mary Sue (Michael Sue?). I mean, she is constantly making what are really awful decisions and then being treated as if she's an excellent officer. She has a psychic connection to Spock's dad based on a mind meld he had with her (an Alien) but never had with his own child.

Oh, not to mention that Spock had an attractive Human older sister for the past 50 years we've never heard about. 


Sadly, there really aren't any other characters developed enough in the first two episodes to talk about. Michelle Yeoh is largely wasted. Saru is both a bit corny, and kind of cool. By Episode 4 we have a few more characters, but the focus remains on Burnham who is just wholly unlikable to me. 

Intriguing aliens? Well, Lt. Saru could be interesting, but really isn't given enough to do, or say until Episode 3, and 4. The actor is excellent, his species look is neat, but I really can't comment more than that. 

The Klingons are...blech. They look atrocious, bare no resemblance to any previous Klingon incarnation, have a nonsensical variation on their culture when compared to the previous canon, and...I just can't. They are so bad. Their story is bad, their appearance is bad, and just about every scene they're in is boring, and painful to watch. 

What is this thing? Seriously.
It looks like a Reman in Skeksis armor.

Cool Planets? Engaging locations? No. None. So far, the vast majority of the scenes in the four episodes occur on ships or otherwise indoors in rooms that look like all the other rooms. They have different sized tables, colored glass, computer display panels, but after a while they all blend together into largely dark areas with small. bright, blue lights. We've been down to one planet in the first four episodes and that one only in the first five minutes (if that) of the premiere. 

I could go on and on but I've already used more thoughts, words, and energy in writing this than the show is worth. 

I wanted this to be good. I really did. I mean, it's such a fantastic thing that we have a new Star Trek TV series on television after twelve years. I just...I am not enjoying it. It looks wrong, it feels wrong, it's written sloppily, and it has no characters I like.

Even after all that, if I didn't have to pay for it I might give it more time. I do have to pay if I want to see it though, and that is just the last straw. 

Live Long, and Pros...oh, sorry...Die in a Hale of Photon Torpedoes STD.

Adam out.

Barking Alien


  1. They alienated half their audience before the first episode by going political. The writers have said it's an allegory of fighting the president. Why would I spend time to see that when we get it for free 24/7?

    Didn't see it, won't see it, thanks for the review.

  2. That's not how they alienated me. Honestly, if a political allegory to American's current situation was their intention they blew that big time. I had no inkling of that.

    I do agree however that it is a dour, pessimistic, and angry show about a universe caught in the grip of suck, and it reflects how many people feel about our current, unpleasant real world circumstances. This isn't what people need right now.

    The original Star Trek came about during a similar time of strife, and it was the show's optimistic view of the future that excited and inspired a generation of scientists, astronauts, forward thinkers, and leaders for many years after it ended.

    We could really use that now.

  3. (I repeat the text I posted under your Google+ announcement of this blog article.)

    In the 60s science-fiction, and science in general, was seen as a means to better the human condition and to become a better kind of humanity. There were great hopes and great visions for a better future.

    Today, in a time which is all about feelings, not about actually doing something to improve our world, the basic orientation of writers - and probably quite a good chunk of the audience - is "anti-science". There is major distrust in science. Scientific facts are treated as "just another different opinion".

    And that is, what you see in STD all the time. There is absolutely NO optimistic pushing the boundary of humanities achievements for the betterment of the universe, but instead you get an indulging into the base brutality and utter selfishness and unfeeling warmongery that is actually totally alien to the whole Star Trek universe.

    This series, were it not a Star Trek series, would be quite bad. The visuals, the very awful semblance of "acting" the main cast presents, and - most importantly - the abysmal and cheaply schematic writing of the episodes. All of those "qualities" make for a quite bad series in the first place.

    But to label it a Star Trek series does actually DAMAGE the Star Trek brand, it drags it down into the cesspools of political activism and a general display of a Federation founded on hatred - as a kind of Orwellian dystopian military state where humor, love, friendship and other, non-violent emotions are forbidden. Those humans in STD are more alien than any alien in all of the last ST series. They are a sad and depressing fanal of humanity, the last and worst humans who ever went into space.

    The actors at least try, though fail, at their acting. But the writers of this series are to blame for the unforgivable awfulness they created.
    As this season is already produced it is too late to resort to "damage control" on this starship-wreck that in watching made me physically cringe - a reaction I very rarely show at watching some entertainment medium.

    At least, there is an ACTUAL Star Trek series around to save the day. The Orville. This is Star Trek done with respect and even love for the ST universe and it is written intelligently and not to push some political agenda, but to tell stories about making a better future. - Just like Star Trek is supposed to be.

  4. Pretty much, yep. Except I've only seen three episodes.

  5. Well finally!

    I was hoping, with a name like "Discovery" we would see more of the exploration of the galaxy. I thought the time period was dumb - squeezing it in right before TOS? - but I was hoping it would drop back to that Age of Exploration vibe and it sounds like it only got farther away from that after episode 1. Even DS9 didn't start with a war story.

    "Reman in Skeksis armor" - LOL! What's with the purple skin? Do Klingons come in all the colors of the rainbow now?

    I think the main character is a huge problem. I don't blame the actress, I blame the writers. It sounds like they wanted to do a different show completely, not Star Trek.

    1. The idea of focusing the series on a character other than the captain is interesting, but they chose the wrong character. It should probably be Tily (Sp?), the red-headed cadet instead of the emotionless, super-normal Michael Burnham.

      At least then we could identify with her.

  6. *ugh and sigh*
    I want it to be good so much. But it isn't working for me. The real world is dark enough, we need some hope. I want discovery, technologies and stories. I want Star Trek to challenge who we are and what we believe and who we can become.
    I haven't complained out loud until this reply. I'm personally tired of Star trek Dark.
    IDIC. <3