Monday, September 25, 2017

Star Trek Discovery Episodes 1 & 2

Magnificent. I loved the way this one began. I was very impressed that someone just didn't return to the cookie cutter Star Trek that was safe. This is fresh and original and full of ideas that are worthy of Gene Roddenberry himself. I liked all the characters. I like the way they interact with each other. That even included that twitchy alien guy who is FANTASTIC as the voice of doom that comes with every decision. He would rather run than stand and fight. On his world he is the equivalent of 'prey' on his world. Everything he does after that made sense to me. I want to know more about him. I want to know more about all of them even the Klingon characters. ESPECIALLY the Klingon characters. Trust me, it all makes sense and it's cool.

The opening titles are also quite good and again, different but powerful to this old Star Trek maniac. I was in my glory for every second of it. My mind first went WTF? By the end of the opening my heart grew three sizes. If you love Star Trek like I do then you understand.

The look is Star Trek. The dialogue is Star Trek. The themes are Star Trek. The struggle between the soldier and the diplomat is in each crew member's heart. This is most true when dealing with alien races. That contact is at the center of this fantastic story in the rich cannon that is the Star Trek Universe. I waited to be disappointed and I just wasn't upset with any of it. It's a gift. If you can't see that then don't watch and miss out. You know one day you will have to watch it to the end in secret so that you can judge it fairly. If the rest of the season is as good as the pilot then buckle me in for the ride because I can watch it for free in Canada. But I like my shows without commercials. If you have computer skills you can figure out how to find the show online. I urge you to do that and defeat this monster that is ALL ACCESS. So they let a show fail because people won't pay enough for it at a time when there are a billion other good shows to watch that are free, basically. Bad business model that should fail. It's too bad that this show has to take the hit because it's better than that.

Is it worthy? Because that is all you want to know, right? Haven't I already been clear where I fall on this one? I could go into a long story about how Star Trek was my touchstone when I returned to live in North America after our family was posted to Germany for five years. I was 12. We had no TV until the last year because we didn't understand German. We listened to the radio a lot and played lots of records. I was almost an Amish kid. Luckily we went to the movies a lot. Yes, you had to go out to see a movie in those days.

When I returned I discovered the glory of 12 channels of English TV with all it's goofiness. Six Million Dollar Man, The Incredible Hulk, Batman? Are you freakin kidding me? I was in my glory. I competed for a 13 inch black and white TV as a paper boy JUST to get to watch my shows whenever I wanted to.

And then there was Star Trek. The discovery of that show in my world changed me as a person. It was a show 'worthy of my attention'. Discovery could have let me down in a hundred ways but at the end I wanted to know more. I hate I have to wait a week. This is SERIALIZED storytelling about ONE PERSON who made a bad decision for the right reasons and now she must pay the price for that choice and maybe find herself some redemption along the way. All this is set in a world that I already love. I have to see what happens.

The special effects are solid and the show is full of the kind of Trek Speak that makes me giggle like a man fool. I clapped and talked to the TV many times because I was totally sucked into the story.

The Klingons are very cool in this one. We see how their customs and their religion is tied up with everything they do like it SHOULD be. That religious component is essential to Klingon greatness. I love the way we hear their language and have to read the subtitles to follow what is going on. There are some great internal politics going on as one Klingon leader tries to unit 24 different factions who have fought against each other and ignored the Federation for generations.

T’Kuvma’s (Chris Obi) is a fantastic force of nature. He plan is bold and guided by a religious zeal that is key to an understanding about what it means to be a Klingon. Their culture is undergoing a culture shock right now and that will be fascinating to watch unfold. In the wrong hands a little bit of faith can be dangerous. The Klingons are dangerous enough. Now they have the motivation to be even more dangerous. The Alpha Quadrant was once a pretty sweet place to live in the Universe. Everything was bright and sunny. Those days are over now and it's a harsh wake-up call for an organization that needed to be reminded that Space is a dangerous place. It's brilliant the way T’Kuvma’s uses the Federation 'threat' to unite the spirit of the warrior in his people. Smart for the Klingons. Bad for the Federation. There will be much blood spilt before this one is over.

Vulcan Hello is my new favorite term for the Lexicon of Star Trek terms. You will know what it is by the end of this pilot and your life will be richer for it.

The end of part one was glorious. The arrival of the Klingons did not disappoint. I am so glad I didn't have to wait a week to see what happened.

Commander Bernam  (Sonequa Martin Green) is an interesting character with an interesting life story. After an attack that killed her human parents she was adopted and raised by Sarek at the Vulcan Science Academy where she excelled even though she was human and they all thought she would fail. For seven years she has served on the Shinzon with her Captain played by the regal Michele Yeoh. I love her in anything she does and I am happy to see her in this project. In fact all the actors are top notch.

Oh and her interactions with Sarek (James Frain) are the best Father/Daughter team-up ever. I want to know more about their relationship. They have a connection that is very strong. So strong in fact that they can communicate over vast distances with just their minds. Very Jedi and very cool.

On the last podcast I was on I  a great theory about what the show was about but I was wrong and happy to be wrong. The story was so much better than I could have hoped for. It's a great Star Trek adventure worthy of any of the recent movies that have been released. The Klingons are a real threat and a desperate people looking for a cause to rally around - a cause that will reunite the Klingon people and their 24 warring factions and when that happens the whole Universe will shutter in fear. It's a great idea for drama because when you add the religious component it's a great well of ideas from which to draw from for the writers. Not to mention all the stuff going on aboard Discovery which we only saw the trailer for.

I can't wait to see more.

I would ask this pilot to the prom if I could. I am in love with it all. I feel bad for any of you who missed the magic. Just don't try to convince me that I am wrong because it's impossible.

Well look at me. I have become a zealot myself.

Thank you Gene Roddenberry for starting what raised me as a human being.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Wow! The most enthusiastic review in the history of reviews!

DrGoat said...

Hear hear. I'm sorry to say we were distracted and really busy last weekend and missed it. Will catch up, hopefully they will run it again during the week.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Hey, I like what I like and I really liked this. I know Star Trek and THIS is Star Trek.

Monc said...

I watched the first episode with my wife. She is NOT a Trek fan, but when it was over, she said, "That wasn't so bad."

I think it stinks that CBS is confining the series to All-Access. I wonder if they'll move it to regular broadcast if their other new series' ratings start tanking.

Chase March said...

Wow, Calvin, you are usually on point with your reviews but I have to disagree with you on this one.

I didn't get invested in it at all. I hated the Star-Wars-type holograms and how it felt like SW instead of ST. I didn't like the first officer and hated the way she mutinied in the first episode. It didn't make sense for someone who has served on the ship for seven years.

The characters all seemed cold. There was no humour or warmth in it.

It really let me down. I will give it some more time to grow on me. ST:TNG didn't grab me right away and I think I hated it at first too. But I was so enamored with the original series (still am)

That being said, I will give it another chance or two. Hopefully they figure out what Trek is all about and not just be a space war drama.

Chrisloc1701 said...

Glad you liked it Cal. I did not like the Klingons in this. Also do we need to have Sarek in this? They had an opportunity to create a new character with James Frain but now they are tied down to continuity with Sarek.

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

i caught most of it i feel like i need to see the second episode before i can really come to an opinion. off hand i'm kinda luke warm on it and i wasn't too crazy about the new look for the Klingons both in terms of physiology and the costumes. also, i found it to be a real stretch for a first officer to openly argue repeatedly with their captain on the bridge in front of the crew. i used to work on ships before and if you feel like you have a real issue with someone in authority who's above you it's pretty much ship etiquette 101 to request to talk to that person in private first. the first officer on a federation Starship who was (raised on Vulcan no less) flying off the handle like that no matter how justified they felt they were was just a bit to hard to swallow.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I love the design and look of the Klingons. Very deadly and scary to a human. I blame Commander Bernam's actions on first contact stress with a species with a reputation for brutality. She was over focussed on the safety of the crew and her solution was ignored and she sorta snapped. She may walk and talk like a Vulcan but she is only human and that is why her story is interesting to me. I want a tale of redemption rather than everything doing the right thing at all times for all the right reasons like Star Trek has a reputation of being. This is fresh and new characterizations in a Universe I know and love. I actually feel bad for people who didn't get it and are jumping ship. There is so much good stuff out there so there is something for everyone. BTW. I have never seen past the first episode of Game of Thrones. I hate it. I hate the grubbiness and the cruelty of it all. Can these fur coated hillbillies bathe once a year if they need a bath or not?

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

People either love or hate this one, Chase. There is no middle ground.

Rob R said...

Count me as one who loved it too!