Judging by the enthusiastic reactions I’m seeing online, my opinion of Star Trek: Discovery is not going to be a popular one. I didn’t like it. Didn’t like it at all.
I don’t think these are spoilers, but just in case, it’s going below the fold.
Complaint #1: The Klingons were awful. Once again, they’ve unnecessarily redesigned the facial appliances they slap on their canonical opposition species, for no good reason. They just made ’em uglier.
Come up with an excuse and stick with it. It is legitimate to argue that your aliens need to be relatable (and within your budget), so just sticking a couple of cosmetic signifiers on them is fine. But these aliens still look cheap, like someone went crazy with the latex, and are still bipedal humanoids, but now all expression in their faces is lost and you’re sending the message that superficial appearances are all that matters. Bleh.
Related: the actors are speaking Klingon like they were forced to memorize random syllables off a cue card. They speak slowly, with frequent and seemingly pointless pauses. People (and aliens, I presume) who speak a foreign language do so fluidly and with a sophisticated pattern of expression. These mooks don’t.
Also related: the Federation Science Officer is so dang hideous and confusingly featured, with an uninterpretable face atop a generic and mundane human body, that I was uncomfortable watching him.
Complaint #2: Illogical plot points contrived for their pseudo-heroicism. Prime case: they’ve spotted a mysterious artifact deep in an asteroid belt. They can’t get a good look at it from their distance of 2000km away. So the show’s hero volunteers to get into a rocket propelled suit and fly in for a closer look, which they estimate will take 20 minutes to fly in and back. Which means she’s going to be piloting this suit through a ridiculously densely packed field of tumbling CGI boulders at 200km/minute (or, for you brutes who favor cloddish imperial units, over 7000 miles per hour). There were a few shots of her elegantly, and slowly, swooping around crashing space rocks. This does not compute.
Furthermore, she’s under a time limit. There’s deadly radiation out there! You’ve got to be back within 19 minutes or you’ll die. That’s not how radiation works. That’s not how any of this works.
The story would have been better served by sending a robot probe. Or better yet, just have the sensors detect that it’s a Klingon gadget over there. The deadly space walk served no purpose to the story at all, except to give the hero an opportunity to demonstrate how reckless and stupid she was.
Complaint #3: What kind of military outfit is this? The hero is insubordinate to the captain, because she thinks she understands Klingons better than the commanding officer of a starship. The captain takes her into a side room to chew her out, and the hero assaults her, knocks her out with a Vulcan nerve pinch, and walks back out to the bridge to start issuing orders to attack the Klingons.
This makes no sense. The hero is going to get a court martial (I know, in the Trek universe, these always end up vindicating the reckless ass, but still…), if she isn’t shot on sight. The show has lost all believability at this point, which is saying something for a show with the premise of spaceships running around meeting aliens.
Complaint #4: It was an hour-long show in which virtually nothing happens except to set up Episode #2, which you can see online by paying money to CBS’s subscription service. No, really: here’s the whole plot. Federation probe stops working. Starship flies out to see what happened. It’s Klingons! They’re surrounded! Pay us money to see what happens next!
I suppose the creators think there was some character development and background-building in there, but mostly what I learned is that Klingons have gotten uglier and inarticulate, while the Federation is crewed by incompetent bumbling assholes.
I have no interest in seeing episode #2, which is too bad. I was interested enough yesterday to sit through a chunk of 60 Minutes, delayed by a football game, to see it, and I suffered mightily for it (A McCain interview — please, he’s not a statesman, he’s the twit who wanted Sarah Palin for vice president, and a Frank Luntz panel designed to give idiots who voted for Trump equal weight with rational people). Also, goddamn commercials. There’s a reason I rarely watch broadcast TV anymore.
If Star Trek: Discovery is supposed to entice me back, it’s not going to work.