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Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Review

February 28th, 2018 by Paddy Comments

Starring Jason Isaacs, Michelle Yeoh, Sonequa Martin Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp and James Frain.

When it was announced that a new Star Trek series was in the works under the guidance of showrunner Bryan Fuller fandom went into gleeful overdrive.

Then when news filtered out that the show would be used to launch CBS’ new subscription service, with the episodes being then aired on Netflix everywhere else across the world, the hype went through the roof.

It all seemed too good to be true and, alas, in many ways it was.

Fuller didn’t hang around too long and Discovery, or STD as some wags have dubbed it, has all the hallmarks of a show that has been chopped and changed throughout every step of the creative process.

There is an awful lot to admire but there is just as much to leave you scratching your head wondering why certain characters behave the way they do.

Discovery opens with two episodes that frankly leave you wondering if this is Star Trek at all. It looks amazing, this is a Trek that has sumptuous visuals and made for the HD age.

Unfortunately, it takes its good time to start feeling like a proper series of Star Trek. It is no coincidence that it isn’t until Jason Isaacs turns up that it starts to get going properly.

His Captain Lorca is superb. This is not your Dudley Do-Right template Star Trek captain and his motivation is part of what makes the show so intriguing, it’s a shame then when the answers to the questions about Lorca are provided that they feel like such a letdown.

The same really applies to Michelle Yeoh’s character, what start out as nuanced characters end up being disappointing clichés that feel like something that the writers of DS9 or Voyager would reject for being too old hat some 20 years ago, never mind modern audiences.

The Klingons loom large throughout the series and long-time Trek fans will be hard-pressed to accept them into canon, but canon they are and it’s probably the most in-depth depiction of the Klingon culture we have been given to date.

Let’s face it, there was a no-less significant change in their appearance when The Motion Picture introduced those bumpy foreheads, after fans had been used to their smooth look in The Original Series.

The crew of Discovery themselves make for a likeable bunch, which helps no end when the show tests the audience’s patience as much as the resolve of our heroes.

That said, it would be churlish in the extreme not to find plenty to enjoy this is very much a modern Trek and the foundations are firmly laid for future seasons, not least when Rainn Wilson’s Harry Mudd is on screen, he is nothing short of a delight and he can’t come back to the show quickly enough.

All the disappointments with Discovery can be put down to teething problems as the show finds its feet, and if sticks to the intriguing new elements it has introduced it can be something special, however there is a feeling that the show is under pressure to pay homage to that which has come before and those sections don’t work as well.

That said, no Trekkie worth their salt will want to miss the resolution to the cliffhanger finale that is an enterprising end to say the least.

3 out of 5 Nerds

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Paddy Ryan, like Buck Rogers, is a man out of time. He's a loose cannon haunted by his past who, when he's not making painful attempts at humour, is busy watching as many geeky films and TV shows as possible. An avid reader, he has vowed one day to start that novel he's been talking about for years. Born in the late 70s, he's an 80s kid at heart who sees nothing wrong with spending hours upon hours watching season three of Robin Of Sherwood. Jason Connery wasn't that bad you know! He's got a million ideas for comic books but thankfully doesn't know anyone with the time to draw them and call his bluff on that one! The Empire Strikes Back is his favourite film, Doctor Who is his TV show of choice and when it comes to books ... well that's a whole other story! I'm Paddy Ryan and you're not...