Oh, I liked Saward's digressions in the "Twin Dilemma" novelization. It was nice to see him fleshing out the universe with those little asides rather than just describing what happened onscreen. It reminded me of the similar approach David Gerrold used in his one original Star Trek
novel, The Galactic Whirlpool
, which has always been one of my favorites.
And it wasn't that odd that the new series started out mostly Earthbound. It was done that way to ease new viewers into the series, let them get used to it before it headed out for more exotic realms. For some reason, there's a perception that the current generation of TV viewers isn't all that interested in space-based stories, which is part of why there are so few on US television anymore. Perhaps it's because it's been so long since humans attempted to travel beyond Earth orbit in real life.