We are now just a few days away from Star Trek returning to its true home of television with Star Trek Discovery which strikes that balance of eager anticipation and trepidation within fans of the franchise. Personally, I would have preferred a series set even further in the future, a ‘Next Next Generation’ if you will, but I’m very open to Discovery, staying positive and waiting until I see the show to form my opinion unlike some other angry people on the Internet. I’ve written about Star Trek a lot over the last couple of years here, I now have a knack for cramming a reference into most of my articles, whether it be about Discovery or another series or film. Now that we are so very close however I can agglomerate my thoughts into a small list of my hopes for Star Trek Discovery when it hits Netflix (or CBS All Access if you are one of those unlucky Americans who have to pay for yet another streaming service) on September 25th.
Wide Focus on Crew
Arguably Star Trek Discovery is the first series in the franchise to have a primary protagonist with Michael Burnham, a human raised as a Vulcan who is the First Officer of the titular Starship. I don’t have an issue with this because television has changed and the show needs to conform to the current landscape of the medium but I hope the all-important dynamic with the crew isn’t lost. The trailers have only truly shown us Burnham, Doug Jones’ alien character Saru and Captain Lorca in terms of the Discovery’s crew but if you look at the cast list or the panels from Comic-Con or Star Trek Las Vegas you’ll see a bevy of names and faces playing vital crew members who are missing from the marketing material. It’s like if they gave us three trailers for The Next Generation which didn’t feature Geordi or Worf or Crusher or Troi. I just hope this isn’t an indication for where the series is going and that we’ll get episodes focusing on other crew members of the Discovery.
War as a backdrop, not the focus
For a utopian series, Star Trek Discovery sure seems to have a lot of explosions. We know that Discovery is set during a war with the Klingons and recent comments by the producers have indicated that the series will show how the Federation becomes more of a utopian society as it progresses. I like the general idea, although I still have to be won over by the time period and the fact that we are focusing yet again on Klingons, and seeing Starfleet at war can open up many storylines but I hope the show doesn’t focus too much on the actual war in terms of strategy and action sequences. I hope it’s the background of the show not the focus with smaller arcs and the real life social issues and metaphors the franchise is known for being explored in a new way because of the wartime background.
Enterprise, the show that ended Star Trek’s reign of television dominance, is the bastard of the franchise. Rarely brought up in conversation, shunned by almost everyone and the subject of copious mockery. I have taken a few pot shots at the series in the past but recently I’ve come to enjoy the series quite a bit. Sure, it starts with an interesting concept which is then left in the dust as it becomes just another Trek show but you can say the same about Voyager and while the first couple of seasons are maligned, they are far and away better than the first couple of seasons of The Next Generation. With Discovery being the first show to debut after Enterprise, and it being closer to the show timeline-wise than any other series, I hope Discovery ‘legitimises’ Enterprise by referencing some of the events and characters from that series and integrating it into the greater Trek family. With the Klingons being such a big focus on the show maybe they could reference the first contact between humans and Klingons which took place in the Enterprise pilot ‘Broken Bow’.
Little prime directive
The Prime Directive has been a staple of Star Trek since the beginning but rarely do I think it works as a good storytelling device. The actual directive in-universe makes sense (most of the time) but quite often the writers get tangled in confounding requirements until characters seem to flip from one side of the debate to the other, episode-by-episode. Rarely done right and often just a nuisance I hope Discovery steers clear of the Prime Directive for the most part; I don’t want the writers to forget it exists and have the crew constantly break it and not mention it but I hope the show doesn’t go into territory where it has to come into effect, or at least isn’t the focus.
Easter eggs from TOS
With Discovery beginning a mere decade before the original series there is always the desire to throw in a few references to the original show that started it all. I would love to see some ‘easter eggs’ that reward dedicated fandom but no more than that. There is also a desire of linking the two shows an unnecessary amount and I’m worried that the revelation that Burnham is the adoptive daughter of Sarek and therefore adoptive sister of Spock is a hint that the writers may be going a little too far. I’m not going to judge before I see the series but I am a little worried of too much crossover. Could we see the Enterprise in Discovery which would be captained by Christopher Pike (or possibly Robert April depending on the exact year)? Seeing Spock sure seems likely and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
What are your hopes for Star Trek Discovery? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about TV, movies and videogames on Twitter @kylebrrtt.