Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by The Habs Fan, Mar 2, 2023.
The problem I have with "Picard" was that it should have been a limited series with one season.
I absolutely think that the 32nd century was a creative failure, even if Seasons 3-4 were fine (and corrected a lot of the issues with the first two seasons).
I get why they did it. For various reasons, the Discovery writers decided they wanted to have the general plotline of each season to be "Michael Burnham saves us all." But since the show was a prequel set only a bit before TOS, it stretched credulity that we never heard anything regarding her in TOS (or the later shows). So they decided the easiest way out of the Season 2 exploits was just to say "Classified!" and then ported them off to after the Temporal Cold War - a safe spot in the Trek timeline with no defined history. I think the real mistake that the showrunners made was thinking we wouldn't follow Michael if there was compelling character drama and slightly lower stakes, but that's water under the bridge at this point.
My real issue though is there are many fun things they could have done with the 32nd century, and they did none of them. We could have seen the "everybody hybridize" thing taken to a more absurd degree, with people 1/4th synth and 1/8th holo and the like, without explaining how the hell this was even possible. We could have found that the Federation remnant was actually run not mostly by humans, but by Cardassians, Klingons, and others who were not part of the Federation in the 23rd century, allowing us to see the ideals of the Federation had drifted away from the founding populations. We could have had a whole "culture shock" side-arc in Season 3, where the downtime crew just can't adjust to the different philosophies and ethics of the 32nd century.
Instead, everything is pretty much the same as it was aside from some window dressing and VFX gloss. The Federation may have "fallen" to some degree but the narrative makes clear aside from FTL flight being rarer there's not really any general technological regression, yet aside from surface things like whatever "programmable matter" is (why is it better than a replicator?) and detached nacelles, it doesn't really matter. The uptime cultures are 100% relatable to the Discovery crew, with not even a single joke being cracked. By the end of the fourth season the status quo has been fully restored, and the Federation is back to a human-dominated club with Earth and Vulcan...I mean Ni'Var...at its center.
To be clear, this lack of creativity isn't a new issue for Trek. Voyager went to the Delta Quadrant, and it turned out it was just like the Alpha Quadrant. Enterprise tried to be a prequel, but was still a shitty TNG ripoff for its first two seasons. There is always this tension in Trek between trying to not alienate the fans and to actually explore something new. The unfortunate thing regarding Discovery is they pretty much simultaneously decided to go to a brand new, potentially alien setting along with being so burned by divisive fan reaction they wouldn't rock the boat any longer. So we got Voyager 3.0, only in the 32nd century.
And we're getting TNG 2.0 in Picard and told by loud segments of the fan base "this! This is Star Trek. "
In my fantasy land, DSC would have started with Season 3... Isolated pockets of humanity in the remnants of the fallen Federation. Starfleet, a legend... like the Jedi. Much as it was at the start of Season 3. I'd have liked to have seen a 5 season show about humanity gradually rebuilding that.
I have to find time to finish Season 4. I keep saying it.
Regarding the 32nd Century, I wish they did more with it. We still have 10 episodes, but I highly doubt those 10 are going to give me everything I wanted out of this timeframe.
I expect the rest of the Kurtzman Era to focus on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th Centuries.
I also don't think that they'll do a reboot when the Kurtzman Era is finished. They've had four chances to do a full reboot reboot: 1979, 1987, 2009, and 2017, and each time they couldn't go through with it 100%. The closest they came was the Kelvin Trilogy when Paramount and CBS were separate entities. And even there, they couldn't get rid of the fig leaf. So, if Star Trek goes away and comes back on TV yet again, I expect they still won't do a full reboot...
... so they'll want to pick up somewhere. The 32nd Century would be perfect for them. The barebones are set up and not much was done with it. Meaning they'll have a chance to. So I think we'll get more of The Future in the future. Just not now.
I’ve just watched the latest Picard episode and greatly enjoyed it. I think it’s hilariously ironic though, because to me it’s far closer in tone, style and content to Discovery than TNG.
Have to agree, by the way, I think the 32nd century offered far more in potential than we’ve had in execution. I love a great many elements of it, including Vance and Rillick, but it feels, even after two seasons, they’ve not had enough time to truly flesh it out. It just doesn’t feel like a hugely exciting, compelling universe. I haven’t rewatched the third and fourth seasons since they’ve aired though. I will sometime after Picard ends. My opinion may differ after a rewatch.
For me, season one had by far the most punch, excitement and edge. It was the first time I’d actually enjoyed TV Trek since DS9 ended. Season two was great too, although lost the plot somewhat when Ma Burnham showed up.
Season three was good, but lacked something—some of the pace and energy was missing. It was just less compelling in execution somehow, from what I recall. Season four was a vast improvement. It felt like a love letter to my favourite Trek film, TMP, and was, frankly the most quintessentially Star Trekky piece of Trek in forever.
Anyway, I’m excited for season five but still tremendously pissed we have to wait another year for it. Talk about adding insult to injury. And Paramount + trying to spin it positively that we get the excitement of waiting a whole year to see it!!! What lucky bunnies we all are.
I'm happy for what we got.
That is no more the general plotline of the seasons of DIS than "James T. Kirk saves us all" is the plotline of most TOS episode, or "Jean-Luc Picard saves us all" is the general plotline of most TNG episodes. Hell, the entire point of Season One was to show her redemption arc after monumentally fucking up.
I mean, okay, but that would have been window dressing. It wouldn't have meaningfully impacted the story.
Why would the fundamental values of the Federation change just because it now includes new species?
I mean, the story was about the rebuilding of the Federation and the re-affirmation of Federation values of multiculturalism, so that was always going to happen. I'm not persuaded that the Federation is a Human-dominated club though. It seems pretty diverse at this point.
I agree that there's always a tension between familiarity and doing something new, but I absolutely don't agree that DIS is VOY 3.0. For one thing, the characters on DIS have actual personalities and depth, which is more than most of the characters on VOY can say for themselves.
That's an interesting idea. The 32nd Century does remain a canvass with a lot of creative freedom.
I think that's just because Discovery is done in the style of television in general these days, so almost any show made today is going to feel more like Discovery than Next Generation. TV shows just can't get away with the shallow writing that Next Generation had anymore.
I think one could argue TNG was the closest to a reboot we'll ever get.
TNG ignores quite a bit of the TOS world-building in favor of Roddenberry's twenty years of thinking about how he would have done things differently. They just set it a hundred years later to "fig leaf" it (as you say) and not completely freak out the fans.
And honestly, it only worked because Roddenberry himself helmed the changes, nowadays fanboys would be crapping their pants about "canon violationz". I sometimes wonder how Star Trek would have evolved if Roddenberry he had lived another fifteen years and been healthy that entire time. I bet things would have been a lot different.
Exactly so, and when Meyer did have soft reboot in TWOK people were mad about it. Meyer and Bennett got death threats in the mail over killing Spock.
It is revising history, at best, or just selective memories, that Star Trek fandom somehow just rolled with any changes and accepted them without so much as a raised Vulcan eyebrow (and note the lack of Vulcans in TNG initially).
"Kirk saves us all" was explicitly NOT the plotline of most TOS episodes. Kirk saved the ship, a few other individuals, and occasionally a single colony or solar system. He never saved the galaxy/Federation/quadrant, and didn't get to save Earth itself until the movies (in TMP, and arguably TVH too). Indeed, I think an explicit part of why TOS worked is it wasn't really "epic" in scale. There was no indication that the Enterprise was anything other than one of 12 Constellation-class ships. We could imagine dozens of other crews having identical adventures offscreen, which gave the Trekverse this vast sense of scale.
Things did start to drift towards the "epic" with TNG. The Enterprise was canonically made a flagship. Picard seemed to go to QonoS a few times a season to meet with the Klingon Chancellor, while Kirk never dealt with a Klingon higher than a captain. Earth was explicitly in danger by the end of the third season. So this crap did start to drift in. Which started to make the universe seem...smaller. Which isn't a good thing, particularly when you have a limited TV budget.
From an emotional standpoint, the most important part of Michael's arc was she was court-martialed and caused the death of her mentor/surrogate mother figure, Captain Georgiou. It would have worked just as well even if she was not personally blamed for starting the entire Klingon War. Hell, it would have worked better, considering that was an ill-thought-out element which was promptly dropped.
It shows that the Federation is continuing to evolve into a more tolerant/inclusive place. I really hated that Season 3 showed holos were still used as servants in the 32nd century, TBH.
They wouldn't necessarily. My point is that the Federation is depicted onscreen as a human-led club, even though it's supposedly multispecies. I know this is for budgetary reasons, but it would be cool to show that even if humanity turned its back on the Federation other groups - who didn't start out as members - were keeping the flame alive. Instead it's just led by offworld humans, more or less.
I think there's something important in the theme that things can be rebuilt, but not in the same way they were before. Otherwise events are (in the longer run) basically consequence free.
I was more referring to DIS's attempt in the latter seasons to be purposefully a bit beige/nonoffensive after the divisive opening. They overlearned their lesson and play it a bit too safe now.
Indeed, every season seems to be a direct response to fan criticism. Right down to people criticizing season 4 for being a bit slow paced, and the recent trailers suggesting a high-octane action/adventure romp.
I disagree on several of your points, but this one rings very true to me. What has become the guiding word for many productions for Trek (and elsewhere) is "safe." Businesses of course want safe, but not just safe from a money standpoint but a social capital standpoint. Don't rock the boat, don't push the fans in the wrong direction, don't, don't, don't. Be as safe as possible.
Reminds me of studying a bit of marketing and why radio stations play the same 10 songs some times. Because it's safe.
Well, except for the time he had a hand in saving the entire matter universe in "The Alternative Factor", but we don't speak of such things...
But I agree with your post, the scope creep started after TMP - and a lot of that was fan driven, like the whole mistaken idea that the entire Starfleet started using the Enterprise arrowhead insignia because Kirk's five year mission was the only successful one.
Well, it WAS a limited series, but for three seasons. So I'd call it even
No it shows that Ethan Peck's Spock was also Leonard Nimoy's Spock..
Thus, Star Trek Discovery, Star Trek Strange New Worlds, the original Star Trek (1966-1969), and Star Trek: The Next Generation ALL take place in the same Prime Timeline. QED
And yet this is still debated. Go figure.
No one ever accused us of being smart.
Smart asses, maybe.
Your grammar is a bit off there, smart guy
I rest my cases.
I think DSC went deliberately too far in the first season and it put a lot of people's noses out of joint. What gets me is there were prominent people working behind the scenes who must have known the whole idea of the show, beginning with redesigned Klingons, revealing Spock has a sister, then a magic mushroom engine that can go anywhere (in a prequel)...
Look, broadly speaking I like DSC. But various people in the production office must have known it wouldn't go down well in some quarters. It's sad because I think if you just tweak 23rd Century to 26th then the initial premise of the show works. You'd have to lose the Spock stuff I guess, but other than that the first Season would still work.
Season 2 spent its run back-pedalling, and I while I like them in SNW, I felt suddenly that Mount and Peck were dominating someone else's show. Season 3 is like a soft reboot that they run with in Season 4...
I think the problem I have with DSC is ultimately it's so unfocussed. VOY is the one where they are going home, TOS is a five year mission, but DSC is this sort of 'bllleeeugh' of stuff. It's not good when each season is a visible, significant retool of the last...
I guess I'd say I like each season individually. I might rewatch any season in fact. However, I doubt I'd ever want to marathon it back to back. Viewed in discrete slices, DSC makes sense, but viewed as a whole and it's like Noodle Trek.
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