Star Trek: Discovery – Initial Impressions of Episodes 1 & 2


I just got done watching Star Trek: Discovery, episodes 1 & 2. Yes, I signed up for the CBS All Access – side note here: The initial screen of the app says it gives 1 month free, and after signing up, it says 7 day free trial… At least that’s what I remember. Anyway, aside from having to sign up for a monthly subscription for 1 channel – and frankly one single show – I have to say I was pleased with the first two episodes – when I finally got to see them.

I’ll get this out of the way now, since this has nothing to do with the content of the show itself:

CBS broadcasting a premiere of a show on Sunday is: Stupid, stupid, stupid. This is football season! Shows are ALWAYS delayed during football season. This happened to The Amazing Race ALL THE TIME. Didn’t anyone think of this? I mean, you’re asking people to sign up for a subscription service; many of them probably had this set to record on their DVR, and will only find out later that part of the show was recorded. How many people will just give up, right then and there, thinking, “oh, I’ll catch the next episode” – well, you lost those people for sure, since there is no episode 2 on broadcast TV.

Ok… that’s out of the way. On to the show itself, with items in no particular order:

Didn’t much like the opening title sequence. It felt like the beginning of a history channel show on Da Vinci, with all those diagrams. The music was good though.

The film style was nice. Felt like a movie, and the opening sequence on the planet felt “right”. Kudos on getting the day of the week correct too…yes, I checked.

The Klingon subtitles got old, really fast. I hope that doesn’t continue.

Speaking of Klingons, this is, what, the third different look they’ve gotten? Worf said something like “We do not speak of it”, when referencing how different the Klingons in TOS looked compared to TNG, but now we’ve got a radically different look in ST:D. …And while we’re on the subject, I realize that since this show is before TOS, we should have technology at least a step down from what TOS portrayed, but from a TV show perspective, that would have been the kiss of death. It might be the “right” thing to do, in terms of timelines, but I like the look of the ship, and the familiar sounds on the bridge.

I see the Dr. on the ship got a nice upgrade from being a lacky on 30 Rock. (Maulik Pancholy played “Jonathan” on that show). Not sure if he survived though.

Was it just me, or did that Admiral really give off a “bro” vibe – like someone you’d see as a lawyer in a board room someplace?

There was one person on the bridge that I couldn’t tell if it was an alien in an enclosed suit of some kind, or a robot. While they were getting people off the bridge, a couple other people helped this person away… maybe it was an alien.

So, we spent two episodes getting to see a few members of the crew, and try and slide into what’s going on, and now many of them are dead (although, I have to say, blowing away the brig was a nice touch). No sign of the Discovery yet… looks like from the previews that’s going to take until episode 3. I really get the feeling they did the story in the wrong order. Maybe the right thing to do would have been to show Michael being transferred to the Discovery first, then showing what got her there in a flash back sequence. I don’t know, maybe not. I guess I sort of expected that the namesake of the show would show up in the first two episodes.

I’m not really sure where the show goes from here. The first two episodes were just a giant intro to the main character, Michael Burnham, and a setup for why the Klingons are really, really mad at the Federation. And a few character we were just starting to get interested in, and *boom* they’re dead. Writers are usually taught this is a very bad thing to do. Don’t get people invested in characters, and then have them die while you’re in the process of getting to know them. It’s not as impactful as it could be, and readers don’t really know who to invest their interest in.

So now the writers have to go in a different direction. Right now it looks like it’s going in the old “outcast trying to prove themselves because of their reputation” route. We’ll see how that goes.

This all sounds negative, like I’m nitpicking. Well, yeah, I AM nitpicking. That’s not to say I didn’t like the show. I did like it. This was MUCH better than how ST:TNG started off. I mean, in ST:TNG when Riker said “Hello, Pinocchico” to Data, I about barfed. I didn’t see anything like that at least. Perhaps a couple moments of navel gazing that weren’t required, but nothing too bad. ….Well, except for the Sarek long distance call… that was kinda dumb.

Keeping my fingers crossed on this one!

edit: One last thing – Lens flares? Really?