Impressions after 15 episodes in a weekend

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by TrickyDickie, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I finally had the opportunity to sit down and watch all of Discovery straight through. Prior to this, I had not even seen one full episode. These are some of my impressions and opinions.

    First, I need to get this nagging bit of trivia out of my system. 'Rejac' sounds like 'Redjac' from TOS. They named the tardigrade 'Ripper'. Admiral Cornwell....Patricia Cornwell wrote a book about Jack The Ripper in which it was her theory that the perp was the artist Walter Sickert (I don't agree with that theory). So, what's all that about? Anything? Probably nothing? Okay, moving on....:p

    Pretty good theme music in the intro. The sketches made me think of Matt Jefferies. The ship flyby, as handled at the end of the intro, has a late 50s / early 60s flavor to it, which is good when you consider that in-universe it's 10 years before TOS. That's the parallel I make, so it works for me. On the other hand, when Discovery makes a spore jump, that flipping around thing is reminiscent of primitive special effects from the 50s / 60s and does not seem well-done.

    Starfleet regulations should not be set in stone. Even the U.S. Constitution can be temporarily suspended in extreme situations. Burnham had important knowledge that Georgiou did not allow to be applied. That was a mistake. Then the whole thing was blamed on Burnham. It seemed very contrived, in order to bring about subsequent drama. From the beginning, Starfleet and its regulations, as portrayed in Trek, has not made a whole lot of sense. The galaxy is not this black and white, cut-and-dried thing where a set of inflexible principles can be applied and strictly adhered to with the expectation that it's going to be the best recipe for success in every case. Unbending rigidity to an absolute will lead to disaster in some situations. In this case, the whole war might have been averted if Georgiou had taken Burnham's advice. But, the writers did what they did to bring about their plot. Not smartly, in my opinion.

    Some argue that the bomb on the Klingon body, when they were just trying to retrieve their dead, was a war crime. Well, the idea of a war versus 'rules' to conducting one has always been very problematic. You can use grenades, but you can't use shotguns. So much of it is treading a very fine tightrope. Especially when countless lives and the downfall of nations are involved. 'The ends justifying the means' gets brought into it and it truly is a huge bone of contention. Morals, ethics, even religion gets brought up. There is no simple answer.

    Next, why did they not self-destruct the Shenzhou to keep it from falling into the hands of the Klingons? Even if the computer was offline, there is always blowing it up the old-fashioned way. For that matter, it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense for escape pods in the 23rd century to have no armaments at all for defense. You're out in a galaxy where there are known hostiles and unknowns. By percentage, the reason for evacuating a ship has a higher likelihood of being due to conflict than ship-wide systems failure to a catastrophic level. Concentrated weapons fire from armed escape pods could destroy a friendly ship if necessary, to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

    It was a reasonable complaint against TOS that when they stole the cloaking device from the Romulans, all it required to get it up and running on the Enterprise was a little jury-rigging from Scotty. Well, it wasn't much different with the Klingons extracting the engine component from the Shenzhou and using it to get their ship rather quickly repaired. If it would have simply been the dilithium crystals themselves, that would have been one thing. But no, they were incorporating a piece of alien tech on short notice. So, the availability of the Shenzhou to the Klingons seems like another contrivance.

    The spore drive being Stamets' 'baby'.... Why were there two test beds of the drive....Glenn and Discovery? Why wasn't there just one, the Glenn, and why wasn't Stamets assigned to that ship? Did they change that later, considering that Daystrom tested an M-5 computer on only one ship, rather than more than one?

    Terraforming that moon to get more spores....that looked very similar to the Genesis process, in the speed of it. Or something like Elon Musk's thing about nuking the surface of Mars. Speaking of which, why mention him with Zefram Cochrane? Way premature to think that Musk's contributions will be anything great in the long-term, isn't it?

    The mirror universe....that was not handled all that well from day one. Spock basically saying that peaceful people can portray madmen easier than vice versa was far too much of a generalization. The idea that negativity can't be subtle, but must be over-the-top and blatant is ridiculous. Serial killers can be seemingly absolutely normal in their home life but still go out and kill....and many are very methodical and calm about it. That's part of why they are successful. Too many people look for 'obvious' signs. Mirror Lorca was believable....until he crossed back over into the mirror universe. Then, not so much. The blatant villain is too one-dimensional. Even in TWOK, Khan was too foaming-at-the-mouth and not as clever and devious as he was in 'Space Seed'. Yes, the 15 years on Ceti Alpha V could have brought that about, but TWOK would have been more interesting if his inner strength had simply kept him biding his time and awaiting an opportunity to employ his clever deviousness once again. Sometimes ego comes down to pride in patience, and by not going that route the story was less interesting. But, I digress....

    The light sensitivity thing, as it was portrayed to be, did not make a whole lot of sense.

    What are cadets doing on an extreme test bed ship like that? From what we hear on the intercom, Tilly is not the only cadet on Discovery. That doesn't make much sense. A starship out on the frontier is rather like a submarine. Other training and duties come first and personality screenings are done. Tilly....more than anything, she simply seems to be not yet 'settled' with where she is at. She does very well with everything that is heaped onto her, but the very fact of that being done at that stage in her career seems unrealistic. To place all of that responsibility onto a cadet seems contrary to what would actually happen. The humor seems very contrived. So, we are to believe that a highly paranoid culture like the Terran Empire is going to hear that stumbling hesitation and uncertainty in her voice on the comm and it will not immediately throw up red flags? Well, she is just having some kind of a bad day and we won't ask any questions, for fear of pissing her off. Still seems pretty thin....

    Standing policy of non-fraternization in the hierarchy of command, yet Cornwell and Lorca hop right into the sack together....with her having portrayed a by-the-book personality. Bit of a contradiction there.

    I do like the fact that the episodes are connected. A lot. The stand-alone episodes of TOS and the other Treks were annoying in the aspect that they were so largely disconnected from each other.

    But, thus far, this series could be called 'Star Trek: Burnham'. In TOS, we got to know Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and other members of the crew in what seemed like a fairly natural way over the course of time. I've never felt like it was simply the Kirk show. I would have preferred if they had let us get to know Burnham in a more gradual way and balanced the series with the other characters. At this point, what do we know about the people on the bridge of Discovery? Plus, they have killed off Lorca, Landry, and Culber....plus Georgiou, except for leaving her mirror self alive. Somewhere. So, we did not get much context for any of those people....not a whole lot of sense of what came before, their character over time, their motivations, their reasons for doing what they did. Stamets and Culber having a relationship and then Culber being killed off so soon....makes you wonder about the motivations of the producers with that.

    Tilly saying that she had never heard of any other female with the first name of Michael....that seems very contrived, especially considering that it's the 23rd century.

    Sarek....For Michael to have a part of his katra with her all the time seems to contradict the idea of what a katra is. The long-range communication....I don't have a 'big' problem with that. Something akin to 'astral projection'? Whatever. But the scenes inside of Sarek's mind....the producers lost a bit there. When Michael was talking with Amanda, Sarek was way off to the side talking with the Vulcan official....so that would not have been in his memory, because he did not witness it. And it was not from Michael's memory, because we were seeing it from her perspective from being inside of Sarek's mind.

    The spore drive....it's mushrooms, BUT it needs a tardigrade to make it work, BUT NO, connecting to a human can make it work, too....sort of. This seems to be the mice-lab rats-dolphins initially and humans subsequently thing taken and ultra-compressed in time frame just as the terraforming of the moon. All along the way in Trek, things happen faster than what is logical and plausible. Do we have to keep that going?

    If Discovery was from a different franchise altogether, or there had been no Trek at all before it, that would be one point in its favor, in spite of its problems. But, that is not the case.

    Visual continuity, and rebooting of that, is one thing, but when characters, specific technology, plot elements, etc, show up sooner than has already been established and / or are quite different than what has already been portrayed....that's a larger can of worms.

    At this point, in all honesty, I am more curious than I am critical. Kurtzman says they are going to sync things up neatly with canon. I am very curious as to how they are going to go about pulling that off.

    Right now, as Star Trek, I give Discovery a 4 out of 10. As something else, I give it a 6 out of 10. So, overall at the end of season 1, I will say a middle-of-the-road 5 out of 10.

    Some may say I am far too generous, others may say I am far too critical.

    This is just my personal opinion at the present time.

    Bring on season 2. :)
     
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  2. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    It was because of the war (and the fact Starfleet in loosing it badly). Remember, they Stamets and his partner had been working in a lab for years prior to this; but Starfleet wanted/needed the tech working ASAP - so they built a two prototypes (this isn't at all uncommon with any new tech development); and split the two up as both a precaution, and hope that one would achieve a breakthrough first which his partner did ; and if not for the accident (which showed Stamets a deadly, but correctable and preventable glitch), would probably have been credited with the invention of the tech.
     
  3. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks. :techman:

    It was a lot to take in over the course of one weekend. I'm not surprised that got past me.
     
  4. Grendelsbayne

    Grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I doubt escape pods have the room or the power needed for weapons systems. Especially in the tos era.

    Cadets on permanent assignment is nothing new to Trek. Nog served on DS9 before graduating the Academy. Kirk served on the USS Republic before graduating the academy. Wesley served on the Enterprise before even being admitted, and after being admitted but before physically going there.

    Not to mention the USS Valiant, or the various emergency cadet crews (TWOK, ST09).

    Plus, there's a war on and they need the cadets up to speed asap.

    Is there such a standing policy? Worf/Jadzia, Worf/Troi, Riker/Troi, Ezri/Bashir, etc. Janeway and Picard held back from such things with their crewmembers, but I don't recall it ever being stated that they did so because of actual policy.

    Why?
     
  5. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    US Naval Academy students can be considered midshipmen with a grade just below E9, and are also active duty. There's a long history of cadets on ships in most navies, that continues. And that's a good thing. You don't want someone in an officer rank with responsilibities over crew and vessel who has never been out, yet.
    Peter Preston was a tragic example of when a cadet dies on such assignment, of course.
     
  6. ITDUDE

    ITDUDE Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe by 23rd century it's the equivalent of Bessie or Mildred or Adolf.. or something to that effect. The name exists, but no one in their right mind would name their child that.
    Maybe last female Michael in late 22nd century led an expedition and got everyone killed. After than the name fell into disuse. By mid 23rd century there would be few female Michaels around, certainly not one famous enough as the Federation mutineer.
     
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  7. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Starfleet Corps of Engineers should get to work on figuring out ways for escape pods to have some defensive capabilities. :techman:
     
  8. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Because centuries from now it should be a non-issue.

    Kor
     
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  9. Grendelsbayne

    Grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is that really how it works, though? How many Starfleet officers have we seen previously to this with the 'wrong' traditional name?

    Even if people don't care as much about male vs female names, aren't there still going to be lots of people who name their sons after fathers, uncles, etc and name their daughters after mothers, aunts, etc?

    And even if there are far more gender neutral names than what we have today, why wouldn't there still be some outliers that just haven't made the same transition? Maybe Michael is just an exception. Hell, maybe Michael is just a super impopular name in general.
     
  10. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wouldn’t be an escape pod then. Would be a combatant and a fair target. Bad idea. Waste of resources too. Shields...sure...keep the space rocks and enemies that don’t play the game off for a bit waiting for rescue, but offensive weaponary? Bad idea for an escape pods basic design.
     
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  11. Mirror Tuvix

    Mirror Tuvix Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    [​IMG]
    I wonder how it would compare to a marathon of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz.

    "Just kidding. I hate poetry."

     
  12. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Glad you made it through. Impressive write up.

    And, sorry, but the title made me think:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :lol: Good one! :techman:
     
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  14. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I think the criticism is reasonable.

    I agree Burnham being seen as the instigator of the war seemed contrived. If anything the war happened because her coup was *stopped*, it seemed likely if she had successfully fired first it may have worked. And maybe she'd get blamed for it, but she accepts that it was her fault and doesn't fight back.

    And I don't understand what they were thinking when they even brought them into the MU so soon.

    I also agree that the non-Burnham characters need more fleshing out.

    Overall I think there's a lot that worked well for the first season, but also a lot that just didn't work or didn't make sense. I think 5 or 6 is about right.
     
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  15. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I got the impression that Stammets was in competition, somewhat, with his colleague and friend on the Glenn,. I don't think it was explained but I speculate that Starfleet had the project on more than one ship in order to get the drive up and running as expeditiously as possible. Whoever got it going first would get the credit.
     
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  16. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    Star Fleet Command knew the truth; but I could see that being a rumor circulated among rank and file Starfleet Fleet ships and others.

    Also, the MU aspect wasn't just an afterthought, it was a crucial aspect of the storyline, considering the PU U.S.S. Discovery was in fact being commanded by a counterpart who crossed over. You may not like the storyline (and that's fair); but the MU wasn't just thrown in as some random element.
     
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  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Likely a function of her guilt for getting her mentor killed.
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

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    The fact that it feels that way is an indictment of the writing. Everything felt forced.
     
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  19. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I know it was a crucial part of the story planned from the start and that’s what’s confusing. The MU is a deliberately campy plot widget to give the writers a chance to write intentionally cheesy and over the top comedy episodes.

    Instead of coming up with their own thing, they not only go directly in other series territory immediately, they treat the universe’s inherent campiness with heavy seriousness.

    An alternate universe where everything is different and kitschely evil is too thin a premise to work with a non-comedy approach. And Discovery should have established its own lane before veering into others.
     
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  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yup, I was laughing the whole way when I watched Lorca or Chekov getting tortured, or people getting killed by hail of phaser fire or random assassinations. Just rolling in the aisles I was... :shrug:
     
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