How is/isn't Discovery Star Trek?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by seigezunt, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. seigezunt

    seigezunt Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So I read a lot from people that will say that Discovery "isn't Star Trek" (to them, though they don't usually put it that way), and I really want to unpack that, basically asking what *is* Star Trek, positively speaking, that the show either does or doesn't fit?

    By the time the season wrapped up I was left feeling completely content that DSC *is* Star Trek, at least what I've come to think of in terms of elements that all the various shows and movies have in common. It's not going to be TOS or TNG or VOY, but I think it continues much in the same spirit: a sci-fi-based adventure set in a certain universe, with some messaging and humor. I frankly feel more comfortable with this show than I ever did with TNG at the get-go, being an old TOS fan. It fits, for me. I suspect having had to stretch my expectation of what Star Trek is when TNG started, set me up to be more accepting than someone who grew up with TNG? Just a guess.
     
  2. King Bob!

    King Bob! The King of Kings Premium Member

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    I think of it as "Star Trek". I can't wrap my brain around it being "Star Trek" eight years before TOS.

    I could more easily see it as 25th century Trek, by changing a few names.
     
  3. Hey Missy

    Hey Missy Captain Captain

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    *tssst*
    *crack*
    Yeah bro, all those middle spinoffs were just made for politically correct 80s/90s babies who'd rather watch boring staff meetings about morality than adventure and boning space chicks.
    *takes another sip*
     
  4. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    each show has its own feel, each one has its own time period it was made in that has a far greater effect than the time period it's supposed to take place in. (Kind of like.. you can tell a western made in the 1970's from one made in the 1950's, even if they'er both shot on the same film, same back-lot, same color process)

    But they all have star ships, and a federation and a continuity of sorts. People just like to make extreme replies to things. Tends to get one noticed. I would say the abiding idea of star trek is being daring enough to keep pushing towards exploration and towards the idea of a utopian society, even if those ideals are challenged and sometimes put on hold or diverted. Good people doing good things for people on the frontier. Star Trek was intended to be a western in space, and deep inside its scar-tissued heart, it still is.
     
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  5. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's a weighty question that I feel needs a more detailed answer than I'm about to give: Star Trek is broad enough to accommodate all kinds of settings. A space station, a ship on the other side of the galaxy, spore drive, the Enterprise. Whatever. It's broad enough to accomodate different philosophies on Humanity: it will change, it won't change, or it will and it won't at the same time.

    The one common thing is: adventures involving a crew who are primarily in space. And space is the final frontier, so what you can do is endless. Because it's endless, there's nothing in Star Trek that isn't Star Trek.
     
  6. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's Star Trek but it's not the TOS universe. That had jelly bean buttons. This is something similar but new.
     
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  7. pst

    pst Commodore Commodore

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    it's star trek, just not my brand.
     
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  8. Rahul

    Rahul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It IS Star Trek. It's just not good Star Trek.
    IMO it fits better with the entire Trek universe than, say, the Kelvin timeline movies. Those looked like Star Trek on the surface, but the universe mechanics of them are so vastly different and much more Star Wars-y that it really didn't fit with the rest of the Trek universe.

    But they were a lot more entertaining.

    DIS fits better in the Trek universe. Apart from some egregious stuff (the klingon re-design, and the supersized starships) it works pretty much on the same game mechanics as the 90s Trek series. It just needs to become more entertaining.
    If that happens - I don't know - I could actually really like the show.

    I already do like the characters. A lot. Just put them in more entertaining stories!
     
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  9. Groppler Zorn

    Groppler Zorn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    For me, everything that happened before Michael went outside in “Vulcan hello” was Star Trek through and through.

    The rest of it had its moments but didn’t *feel* like Trek to the same extent as the other serieses.

    But that’s the extent of my ability to describe the situation.
     
  10. Rahul

    Rahul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think DS9 had a lot of great war stories. Those episodes that are usually referenced when talking about good DS9. But inbetween, they also had A LOT of stinkers - where you were really wondering what they were doing with that Dominion war arc.

    DIS season 1 felt like those weaker episodes of DS9, but without the good ones. It was just missing the interesting stuff, but on a storytelling level this weaker stuff worked pretty much like all previous Trek episodes.

    Except the Mirror Universe stuff. That was full on, 100% comicbook schlock, where they had to gun down the badguy to save the entire fucking Multiverse. Yeah. But mirror universe episodes being schlock also is kind of a Trek tradition at this point...
     
  11. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Commodore Commodore

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    I had this same take but overall, I still really, really like the series. Everything from the beginning of Vulcan Hello; hearing the Klingons speaking TUC style Klingon, Burnham's Log (omg I loved the log!), the majesty of the binary star visual effects, all the bridge protocols and banter, and the ready room conversation, and the preflight checklist for her spacewalk...ALL of that was exactly how I wanted a modern Star Trek to look and feel.

    Everything else, honestly, was a big surprise with what they did. Some of it was great! Some of it was...what? You ripped off his skin so you could wrap it around your body...but then transferred HIS mind into YOURS? A lot of it was definitely not Star Trek-y by my previous criteria, but that criteria changes with each series, honestly. I'm watching ENT for the first time right now and enjoying it for the camp value, but I'm off-put by how overly Star Trek it is...given that every episode feels like a mashup of at least one or two episodes of each series that came before. That's exactly why I didn't watch it beyond the first half season originally. I can understand people who aren't about Discovery, but hopefully in 20 years you guys will be able to enjoy it! I mean, I never thought that Trip Tucker would end up very high on my list of favorite Star Trek characters. He's such a dummy!
     
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  12. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's Star Trek because:

    It says it's Star Trek
    It references Star Trek characters and aliens.
    It says it's Star Trek.
    We (the collective 'we', lol) want to keep Star Trek alive!

    It's not Star Trekesque because:

    It made an abomination of the Klingons
    It's dark
     
  13. Holiday Possum

    Holiday Possum Christmas is coming Moderator

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    It's Star Trek, it's just Star Trek produced for the 2010s instead of the 1960s, 80s, 90s or 00s.
     
  14. Cash or Credit

    Cash or Credit Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly.

    DISCO is totally Star Trek, and it is in no way not Star Trek.
     
  15. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    ok
     
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  16. Holiday Possum

    Holiday Possum Christmas is coming Moderator

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    The ceti eel still gives my nightmares.
     
  17. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Commodore Commodore

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    To me, Star Trek is summed up in two documents. First, this exchange from "All Good Things...":

    Second, this passage from the Star Trek Writer's Bible 1967:

    Now, is Discovery part of the Star Trek canon? Yes, absolutely. It is a television show released under the Star Trek name by the current copyright holder of Star Trek. In every legal and practical sense of the term, Discovery is Star Trek.

    However, I think Discovery is not a spiritual successor to Star Trek. It is like a different show using the same name.

    It isn't charting the unknown possibilities of human existence through exploration of the galaxy. It's just... not. The first fifteen minutes -- which were wonderful, by the way -- were very much in the tradition of Star Trek. And then it went off the rails and never came back. You can make a strained argument that there was a kind of interior and exterior exploration going on in the War Arc or the Mirror Arc, but then you look back at even the awful first season of Next Gen or Voyager and see that the crews back then were constantly reaching for the stars -- even though it did so very, very badly much of the time -- in a way that Discovery never seriously tried to do. "Hide and Q" and "Parallax" were unwatchable garbage, but they were, spiritually, Star Trek -- even though it was really bad Star Trek. (There were also some mediocre shots like "Jetrel" and "The Arsenal of Freedom," too.) There's nothing in DISCO (after the opening fifteen minutes) that approaches that level of engagement with the Star Trek mission. Even when DISCO is at its very most watchable best (by which I obviously mean "the middle of 'Into The Forest I Go'"), it isn't being "good Trek"; it's being "good Battlestar spinoff." Which can be good! But isn't, to me, Star Trek in any sense but the legal.

    Even DS9 (whose first couple seasons are fine, not bad at all) is constantly bringing in new ideas, new ways of thinking about our humanity, even though the format means the exploration has to come to the station rather than the other way around. And, yes, many of them fail. For every decent "Captive Pursuit" there's an "If Wishes Were Horses." But, again, even DS9 is trying to do something that DISCO simply has no interest in: expanding the mind and horizons of its audience by using space exploration to examine the human condition.

    And then we come to the other thing that makes Star Trek what it is: its realistic depiction of characters. What the writer's bible calls the "believability" of Trek's characters, even in the face of a radically altered future. (The bible comes back to hammer this point home again and again and again later on.) We spend 95% of our time on this forum arguing about stuff that is ultimately a sideshow -- continuity, scientific accuracy, plot tropes -- all of which the writer's bible considers important but not central. The central thing is that the characters act like realistic people, not acting strangely because of the demands of the plot or "because it's science fiction" or "because twist reveals are trendy right now."

    YMMV, of course, but I think almost everyone on DISCO this year acted like an insane person. Burnham's mutiny, which formed the basis of the whole series, was insane. Lorca's plan to... whatever Lorca's plan was... was insane. Tyler/Voq's plan was insane. Sarek acted insane several times. Mudd was insane. Admiral Cornwall was insane. Saru was doing fine but was then given an entire episode for the sole purpose of making him freely choose to act insane. Stamets, the guy who spent several episodes on a mushroom high, acted saner than everyone else on his senior staff. Tilly's great and she should be the new captain and sole returning character. Their characters were subverted in order to advance the particular plot the producers wanted to run, and their insane actions were justified largely as, "Well, it's 2018, and this is just how TV works nowadays."

    That may be the case, but a show that sacrifices plausibility for spectacle has missed the essential distinguishing feature of Star Trek, and regressed back to the days of early SF, when SF was treated as its own kind of literature where the rules of ordinary drama did not need to be followed.

    For these reasons, I think Discovery is not a spiritual successor to Star Trek. They can namedrop as many names as they want, but they've missed the soul. I hope they do accomplish what they've set out to accomplish, and maybe that thing will eventually be good overall -- but, at least right now, they're not trying to make a Star Trek series, and so it can never be good Trek.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  18. Agony_Boothb

    Agony_Boothb Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Neelix getting some klingon poonie was trek's biggest jump that shark moment as far as the Klingons are concerned.
     
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  19. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nah, the shit ugly, subtitle speaking Discovery Klingons are the worst ever :(
     
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  20. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And this is the crux of the matter...
     
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