Spoilers Yeah... I give up - Star Trek has abandoned philosophical naturalism - it's depressing/juvenile

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by INACTIVEUSS Einstein, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. INACTIVEUSS Einstein

    INACTIVEUSS Einstein Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    NCC-0500
    The show has gone down the road of pseudo-"visions", talks with "dead" people inside a character's head, character "reveals" that are handled poorly, and other trite modern schtick. This was innovative only once, in the mid-1990s, when people like Joss Whedon did it, and used it far more judiciously, with self-awareness of how ridiculous it is. It has become a sickly cloying symbol of hack writing in other people's hands. What's next, maybe the show can incorporate psuedo-prophets having visions that nobody is sure whether to trust? A person inexplicably returning from the dead with a prophetic warning? Cara Thrace leading the Federation to it's destiny? The USS Destiny journeying to the center of the universe in search of "god", encountering will-o-whips that take the form of their deceased family members. Perhaps entire episodes can be dreams in future?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I wanted to like Discovery, I really did, and I gave it the benefit of the doubt, as you all know, for so long, but it's cringeworthy watching this. Perhaps io9's unremitting criticism was right.

    Star Trek used to be a show which was grounded in a naturalistic view of the world. Society was what we made of it, not contingent on supernatural forces. Puzzles could be understood with observation/thought. Problems could be overcome or engineered, if society was wise and careful enough. Social issues could be solved with enough understanding. It was, at it's most popular, an unabashed moral sermon too. The two most popular shows, TOS and TNG, were the most earnestly formatted this way. Everything that history tells us makes civilization good - reason, science, humane ethics, realism, the ability to forgive, or to exercise discipline - Star Trek was a partisan for - like some collection of entertaining analects disguised behind an action show.

    [​IMG]

    It has now turned into something decadent in the worst sense of the word, with Discovery. It's like watching the ideas that a writing class in a school might come up with, "miss, what if they communicate via space fungus, meet each other in a dream world, and his dead boyfriend gives him a message". No attempt to clad it in a veneer of science any more, the audience has to perform constant gymnastics to justify it. What a pity; the show has hints of great ideas, the show could have been Star Trek's most diverse statement in favor of naturalism, instead it feels like we are slipping back into the dark ages.

    Perhaps given enough time, the show will change and become something else, worth watching. But right now, I'm done defending it or giving it the benefit of the doubt. I don't think we should accept this standard of quality from such a popular franchise, when there are shows as thoughtful as Westworld on TV, or Blade Runner 2049 in the cinema, and when other old science fiction franchises are being handled so reverently.

    It's depressing to watch Star Trek become a mystical soap opera. On the positive side, recent attempts at Star Trek have, as many people have noted, brought the 'colorfulness' back into Trek - more things can happen than in the latter days of Voyager, when the colorfulness had been washed away - but the problem is that every bad juvenile trend in storytelling from the last ten years has been present to some degree too.
     
  2. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Location:
    Great Britain
    Lol you could say all this about Sisko's Prophet visions in DS9, or Picard recovering from his injuries thanks to a metaphysical revisiting of his past by Q.
     
  3. INACTIVEUSS Einstein

    INACTIVEUSS Einstein Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    NCC-0500
    Yeah, you could say it about Sisko's prophet visions, and they were also the worst part of DS9, the time when Trek first faltered and delved into mystical territory just to try to add supernatural intrigue - one suspects that might have been Ronald D Moore's influence, considering BSG's subsequent fascination with psuedo-angels and prophets being accepted uncritically by characters rather than looked upon objectively as potentially extraterrestrial - upon re-watching, this part of DS9 is pretty dull.

    I watched the latest episode today, and this was my gut reaction, I make no apologies, because reactions are subjective. To me, the show right now, is following the route of say Stargate Universe. Not exactly the shining example of a popular science fiction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  4. bigglesworth

    bigglesworth Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Discovery isn't the only Trek show to do this. Some of the lifeforms and stories that have veered away from science and towards mysticism
    • Adonis from Who Mourns for Adonis
    • Trelane from Squire of Gothos
    • The Metrons from Arena
    • Organians from Errand of Mercy
    • Q from various TNG/DS9/VOY episodes
    • The wormhole aliens/prophets from DS9 episodes
    • The God creature from STV
     
  5. Cyrus

    Cyrus Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    TL;DR
     
    Kol-Ut-Shan, antinoos, JoeP and 4 others like this.
  6. Cold Spot

    Cold Spot Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    Location:
    spot261
    Given this is a show that has always had Gods, superbeings, inexplicably powerful aliens, Vulcan mysticism, empathic crew members, a prophet as a show runner, whose first two episodes focused on telepathic aliens and telekinetic humans respectively, whose most successful instalment involved an overriding story arc about a god like being judging humanity, scientifically totally implausible technology and has involved literally dozens of episodes with characters having visions, seeing the future, making prophecies, your point is?
     
    Kol-Ut-Shan, antinoos, JoeP and 9 others like this.
  7. INACTIVEUSS Einstein

    INACTIVEUSS Einstein Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    NCC-0500
    @bigglesworth

    All of which were treated as natural alien phenomena, except by an unhinged Vulcan.

    It was with Sisko, that we got the first hints of Battlestar Galactica type uncritical thinking, as the show went on, the Prophets moved from acausal 'aliens' to being a caricature of the profound; they glow and talk in riddles, in a white void. They also don't contain, say, the genuine wisdom of Yoda or Gandalf, but are largely a plot device bestowing some notion that something will happen a few script pages hence, and providing the characters something to brood about.

    But that isn't why I'm criticizing the latest episode of DSC. The spore vision was probably 'natural' in origin... somehow. It imparted some psychological wisdom about letting go, probably from Stamets own subconscious. It's more that it was presented using all the worst excesses of 2000s writing. Loved ones returning in visions and all that schlock - half an episode spent in the corridors of a person's mind, running from vague intangible threats.

    Anyway, I knew people will disagree, maybe make rude replies, but it's just my opinion - perhaps the problem with the internet is that we all unload our opinions here, provoking people who feel differently. Take it for what you will folks.
     
  8. O_Kav

    O_Kav Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    Are you kidding me ? Faltered ? :lol: DS9 is generally regarded by critics as the best Star Trek Television Series ever made exactly because of that reason. The fact that it talked in-depth about Religion is what makes it a great piece of Sci-fi.

    You started your argument claiming this "mystical territory" stuff began on Television with Joss Whedon during mid 1990s and now you're admitting DS9 did it way before him... So what is it ? Is Star Trek just following a trend or is doing what it always did ? :shrug:
     
    Shaka Zulu, antinoos, Psion and 3 others like this.
  9. Butters

    Butters Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Location:
    The Northwest
    Picard had a conversation with his dead mother at the edge of reality in TNG season one! This is science cocking fiction. None of its new. Discovery isn’t breaking away from some trek paradigm, if anything it’s just retreading old ground.
     
  10. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    I agree with much of this. In rating Discovery as an experience, without poll numbers, the sense it has left me with now is sadness, and a little bit of pity. I may never have been it's biggest fan (yeah) BUT at least it inspired energy to invest in it. To care about what it was doing and give it consideration and hope. Frankly it is a mess. The characters are all over the place and this constant need to pull the rug out and tell us that this character was a facade or is another universe version, is pathetic. How many fucking Stamets are there now?? Our one, their one and the vision quest ones? What about the Tylers? Prime Tyler, synthetic Tyler, mirror Tyler and the family Voqs. Is there a brain Tyler now, lol. This is a joke right? Should we care about any of them? Nah, they'll get rebooted next week.
     
  11. bigglesworth

    bigglesworth Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    I wasn't trying to be rude, so I apologize if it came across as that way. In regard to Stamets and Culber in "Vaulting Ambition", as you stated, I took it as Stamet's subconscious simply making sense of what he was experiencing in the mycelial network. He (Stamet's) knew that in the real world Hugh had died and that vision was him coming to terms with it. I don't think Culber gave Stamets any information from the great beyond. His realization that the mycelial network was breaking down was Stamet's own discovery, it was simply voiced by his memory of Culber.
     
    Shaka Zulu likes this.
  12. INACTIVEUSS Einstein

    INACTIVEUSS Einstein Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    NCC-0500
    I'm not gonna get into minutiae lasting pages - the fact is, psuedo religious things started well before Buffy, as you say - but the word mystical implies a different type of phenomenon to mere religion, generally the idea that another level of 'reality' exists outside (actual) reality, either literally (supernatural) or figuratively - I also used the words "like" Joss Whedon, implying multiple sources, "delved", implying semi-acceptance, and "faltered", implying the rest of DS9 didn't falter - please forgive me for saying this, but I honestly don't want to be sat here all night just pointing out different interpretations of my own sentences, highlighting word choice - try to respond to the general point, rather than trying to trip me up, or entrap me - I'm speaking as honestly as I always do.
     
  13. Geoff Peterson

    Geoff Peterson Robot Skeleton Sidekick Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    The Late Late Show with Nerys Myk
    That ship sailed decades ago when Vulcans turned into Jedi.
     
  14. Serveaux

    Serveaux Tasteless and unnecessary Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Location:
    Always seeking new and better distractions
    Yeah, the show is certainly mostly trite bullshit.
     
  15. O_Kav

    O_Kav Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    Like the Q Continuum ?

    I mean, TNG literally started with a Loki-esque God doing silly things to the main cast just because he was bored. There's nothing "philosophical naturalist" about that. And Q was a great concept.

    Your general point is that Star Trek "abandoned philosophical naturalism" when in reality it never limited itself to philosophical naturalism. Trek never was Hard Sci-fi and it will never be. What makes Star Trek so attractive to people is the fact that it allows itself some trippy concepts. The whole Mycelial Network shebang with Stamets actually sounds way more scientific than most "mystical" concepts Star Trek showed us before. I still don't see your point.
     
  16. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    I see the point in the title. The product that Discovery is, the way it as a show is depicting its concepts is depressing and juvenile. It's a reaction and can't 'compared' away.
     
    INACTIVEUSS Einstein likes this.
  17. Geoff Peterson

    Geoff Peterson Robot Skeleton Sidekick Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    The Late Late Show with Nerys Myk
    So... it's Star Trek?
     
    antinoos, JoeP, Sci and 5 others like this.
  18. GMSkarka

    GMSkarka Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS, USA
    Gosh. All of his criticism pics are of the gay couple.

    I wonder what his problem could be?
     
    Shaka Zulu, antinoos, JoeP and 8 others like this.
  19. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    So it's the shittiest version of Star Trek then?
     
  20. SJGardner

    SJGardner Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Location:
    In the center of Europe
    If I had to choose between 1.) Stamets' subconscious rendering the Mycelial Network as a familiar environment (akin to how Bashir & O'Brien experienced Sloan's brain as DS9's interior) and meeting what appears to be Hugh Culber (also something from his subconscious or even the Network itself trying to communicate with him... Culber did implore him to save the network) or 2.) Bones carrying around what basically amounts to Spock's soul which is then, with the help of touch telepathy, channeled back to his body that was resurrected by a planet borne from something called protomatter which can apparently create life out of interstellar medium, I would probably say the first one is 'scientific.' None of the two is hard sci-fi, though, but luckily, Star Trek has never attempted to sell itself as one.
     
    Phil123 likes this.