Sehlat Vie

Episode 1, 2, “Vulcan Hello”/“Battle at the Binary Stars” discussion thread; spoilers allowed, but with WARNINGS

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I need to get in a second viewing to line up all the data points, but I want to level a defense of Burnham.

In these 2 episodes she faced a classic No Win Scenario. It's actually the best version we've seen because it did not feature the helpless innocents that you are supposed to risk yourself to rescue. It was a much more complex problem. We can quibble with certain plot points, but the writers took pains to establish this as a problem with no good solutions. If you accept all those signals as legitimate to the narrative, then you accept Burnham's dilemma. We can argue with certain decisions--but that is the point. Burnham will be arguing with herself over those decision for the rest of her life. She is a great tragic character, which is not something we are used to in Trek.

For all the talk of her relation to Spock, she is more in the spirit of Kirk. Kirk faced the No Win Scenario. Kirk broke the rules. He disobeyed orders, and he mutinied. He never assaulted his commanding officer, but we also never knew him as any rank below a captain. Maybe Kirk was by the book until he was captain so that he would not endanger his ability to become a captain. Burnham made that sacrifice. Maybe she was wrong. But it is just as possible that Georgiou was wrong, and the Admiral was wrong. They are both dead, and Burnham is the scapegoat. 

Im not arguing that fans need to like her. Im not arguing--yet!--that reaction against her has to do with gender or race (just as an exercise, name a Trek character who mutinied that you were NOT in support of?) But I like her, and I think she is set up for a very interesting journey.           

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1 hour ago, Justin Snead said:

I need to get in a second viewing to line up all the data points, but I want to level a defense of Burnham.

In these 2 episodes she faced a classic No Win Scenario. It's actually the best version we've seen because it did not feature the helpless innocents that you are supposed to risk yourself to rescue. It was a much more complex problem. We can quibble with certain plot points, but the writers took pains to establish this as a problem with no good solutions. If you accept all those signals as legitimate to the narrative, then you accept Burnham's dilemma. We can argue with certain decisions--but that is the point. Burnham will be arguing with herself over those decision for the rest of her life. She is a great tragic character, which is not something we are used to in Trek.

I agree that Burnham was faced with a no-win scenario and I second your defense of her.

And as it turned out, Burnham was actually right in suggesting Sarek's affirmative action with regard to the Klingons.   One wonders if the Klingons would’ve had more respect if the Shenzhou had delivered a “Vulcan hello” instead of Starfleet’s customary (and Klingon-rejected), “We come in peace.” 

But I differ that tragic characters aren’t common in Star Trek; DS9 was centered around a commanding officer of tragic circumstances, as well as an ex-terrorist exec.  We also had Trip in ENT lose a sister and Picard’s ongoing Borg arc experienced in “BoBW 1,2” “Family" “I Borg” and “First Contact.” 

 

And Burnham’s life imprisonment did seem like a bit of an overreaction.  

But then again, Starfleet also had a DEATH penalty (!) with regards to vessels that broke the Talos IV quarantine at that time, so I accepted that as a less-evolved time in Starfleet’s history. 

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2 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

And Burnham’s life imprisonment did seem like a bit of an overreaction.

Not if they blame her for a war where thousands have and will die. And, given their perspective, they do have solid reason to blame her for it.

I don't fathom her logic for having her little meeting in secret.

 

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Ok ... seeing the more recent reviews ... I am glad that I am not the only one not liking this show. At first I thought it was just me. Well here is my two slips of latinum coming from someone that honestly wanted to like this.

I remember reading all over the internet that this pilot would be better than any of the other shows. I can't say I agree at all. It felt so sloppy, rushed, and seemed more like a youtube short. A "set up" to the show. It didn't feel like an actual pilot ... of any show. Not just Star Trek.

The Pros:

  1. The opening credits are pretty unique. I think ever since VOY - fans have been waiting for the ship fly-bys, but I guess gone are the days of that ...
  2. Updated CGI is always nice.
  3. Michelle Yeoh's Captain Phillipa was a wonderful character. I would rather have followed her adventures than Burnham's.
  4. Doug Jone's Saru is... interesting thus far.
  5. James Frain's Sarek wasn't too shabby.
  6. The Shenzou was a nice looking ship. Kind of reminded me of the Kelvin (interior wise at least).
  7. I found Burnham arguing with the ethics of the computer to be amusing. It reminded me of Kirk outsmarting machines in his day.
  8. Nice nod to the Vulcan society by putting young Burnham in one of those learning pods.
  9. The Klingon albino? That wouldn't happen to be the albino fro DS9? The one Dax, Kang, Kor, Koloth hunt?
  10. The uniforms aren't bad and I can see how they are an evolution of the ENT jumpsuit. I just ... hope there is a transition to TOS uniforms. Even if it's on the last episode. There is a book that explains the TOS uniforms are already around ...

The Cons:

  1. The most obvious: A t.v. show called Star Trek: Discovery and no ship named ... Discovery. In fact, the principal ship does not make an appearance at all. Whose bright idea was that? Imagine not seeing the Enterprise, DS9, or VOY in the pilot episodes ... At the very least - the ship should have appeared at the final battle and saved the survivors of the ship.
  2. Platitudes abounds. This episode talked a great Trek deal but didn't really display it. Between Phillipa arguing Starfleet doesn't fire first to the injured officer lamenting they weren't soldiers but explorers. It felt like that was tacked on to shut up fans that felt the jump to war was a bit ... too soon.
  3. The opening scene ... A captain and first officer go on some mission of mercy to help what appears to be a pre-warp alien species. They just shoot up a well? This was a really sloppy idea for exposition. I understand this scene was to offer us an explanation of what is going on and who they are but it was .... done so poorly. I'm sorry, but I honestly think TNG/DS9/VOY did a better job of introducing us to their respective "worlds" than this show did.
  4. The crew - absolutely no build-up with them. So I didn't care when they started dying one by one. They were all, literally, red shirts.
  5. Holograms ... I get that in this century we will have holograms so it is laughable that it took until DS9 for holograms to be used as a means of communication. But ...
  6. The Klingons ... wow .... they were terrible. I'm sorry, but this isn't a "they look nothing like TOS Klingons" rant. They were just an extremely boring aspect of the episode. The entire thing seemed ... oddly convoluted. This Klingon "Trump" believes the Klingons will lose their purity. Ok - I can stomach that. In Undiscovered Country - the Klingons were scared their way of life would be shattered if they gave into the "homo sapien's only club" of the Federation. And this Klingon's idea of starting a war with the UFP was to lure a Federation ship there and hope a fight would ensue? Also ... 100 years have gone by and the UFP had little to no relations with them? So since ENT they just disappeared?
  7. Now onto my "they look nothing like the TOS Klingons" rant. What happened to "These Klingons look different because, like humans, they don't all look the same." Then cue the leaders of the other Klingon houses .... and they all look like the monster Klingons ... Seriously? I understand people were tired of space vikings. Fine. But .... this was the alternative? I'd like my bug-eyed Gowron, reluctant Martok, and honorable Worf back. Just an FYI - this is not a slight to the actors. I think they did a good job and the Klingons, despite their ridiculous new look, felt Klingon.
  8. The episode's pacing was off. It felt rushed and convoluted for no reason. Between her passing out in the asteroid belt and being in sickbay ... or her jumping through space from the brig and suddenly being on the bridge in good condition. WTF?
  9. This is not the first Star Trek where the principal characters do dangerous away missions but Burnham sent on that space walk? What...? No such thing as probes in the 23rd century huh?
  10. Last but not least: Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham. To me - the weakest aspect of this episode. Between shoehorning her in as Spock's half sister (Why did she need to be his sister? Vulcan is a small place...) and her erratic behavior throughout the episode - I was really put off by this character. I was intrigued by the idea of a human growing up in an alien culture and then being "re-introduced" into human society but her character did not come off as someone raised by Vulcans. She was highly emotional (although to be fair - she had been with this crew for 7 years and they probably "cracked" the Vulcan shell she had).
  • The problem with having a singular POV or main character versus an emphasis on an ensemble cast is ... you better make sure that the singular POV is amazing. It would be like watching TNG and the focus is solely on Riker. Frakes' Riker isn't terrible. Just like Burnham isn't terrible. But I'd rather much more focus on Picard/Data/Worf than Riker only. I found Phillipa and Saru more interesting than Burnham .... not a good thing when she solely leads the show.
  • The mutiny scene was incredibly silly, but more importantly ... not yet earned. It had no emotional pull because I never saw these characters grow together. If Worf betrayed Sisko in season 7 or if Data betrayed Picard in season 7 - it would be far more emotional and impactful because we saw these characters grow together. When the mutiny was done in Battlestar Galactica - it was shocking because it was done by characters we had seen for years. Here - I'm just told I'm supposed to be shocked by Burnham doing this because they've been friends for years. When Spock took over the Enterprise in "The Menagerie" - it had some impact because we had already seen several episodes with Spock.
  • I understand the implication she has PTSD from the Klingons and thus becomes less in control due to their presence - but it just wasn't handled particularly well. Maybe if we got more time with the character under normal circumstances then it would have been more powerful when she betrayed her crew.
  • Her relationship with the crew felt so artificial. This was the reason it was a mistake to simply say she had been with the crew for nearly a decade.
  • While it is ... slightly intriguing that she is the focal point for the bloody war between the Federation and Klingons - I didn't realize a single person was responsible for it ... who knew?

Honestly? Besides the money issue - now I can see why Axanar was ... dealt with the way it was. I'm sorry but I am more interested in seeing Admiral Ramirez (Tony Todd) and this war beginning than I am Burnham.

I even watched this episode with my girlfriend who is just learning more about Star Trek. I wanted her opinion because I wasn't sure if mine was bias. Even she agreed it felt really rushed and to a casual fan - it was pretty confusing on who all these people were. If I hadn't been there to explain who the Federation was, the Klingons, etc. She'd have even been more lost.

I understand that all the pilots of all the Trek shows are weak, but oddly enough ... this pilot made me appreciate the others all the more. The slow build up. The introduction of characters. The majestic shots of the ships/station. I honestly like Caretaker more than this .... ouch. Hell, I feel even Abrams did a better job of making it feel like Star Trek (Even if he made it feel like Star Trek meets Transformers). I will never complain again about Enterprise not doing enough to "fit" in the canon. It did a far superior job on that than DSC.

Overall - I am hoping this show improves considerably.

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I advise anyone with any sense to avoid the Star Trek subreddit at this point. It's pretty toxic. Anyone who likes the show is being accused of being paid off by CBS, or of not being a "real fan". I've been a fan for 22 of my 26 years on Earth, and still I'm considered less-than. I'm the insufferable, obsessive kind of fan who can name all the episodes and bores my friends with random trivia. You know, a trekkie. :P  

I experienced this attitude for liking Voyager, and for Enterprise, and even for Deep Space Nine (my favourite show of all time except for maybe Twin Peaks), and now I'm experiencing it for liking Discovery. It's nothing new; some Trek fans are just absolutely awful.

Just FYI, to all of you, nobody can tell you you're not a real fan. Whether you hated the pilot or loved it or are ambivalent about it, there is no correct way to be a Star Trek fan. Except, arguably, in not passing judgment over others for their tastes. Picard wouldn't bully you for preferring Megadeath to Mozart, nor Mozart to Megadeath. If anything, he'd appreciate the cultural and archaeological value of whatever taste you had!

To gatekeep who is and who isn't a fan is bullying, plain and simple. What I appreciate about this forum is that the users are tolerant, empathetic, and understanding. I'm not getting the sense that anyone thinks less of me here because of my opinion of a TV show, even if we wildly disagree.

Anyways, thanks for restoring somewhat my hope in trekkies/trekkers. Y'all are golden. <3

More relevantly, perhaps, y'all are real fans.

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10 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

And as it turned out, Burnham was actually right in suggesting Sarek's affirmative action with regard to the Klingons.   One wonders if the Klingons would’ve had more respect if the Shenzhou had delivered a “Vulcan hello” instead of Starfleet’s customary (and Klingon-rejected), “We come in peace.” 

But I differ that tragic characters aren’t common in Star Trek; DS9 was centered around a commanding officer of tragic circumstances, as well as an ex-terrorist exec.  We also had Trip in ENT lose a sister and Picard’s ongoing Borg arc experienced in “BoBW 1,2” “Family" “I Borg” and “First Contact.” 

 

 

I really like the Vulcan Hello idea. Vulcans have been portrayed of as peaceful, probably becasue Spock always had those lines in TOS to show there is another way, to contrast with hot-blooded humans of the Vietnam era. But it's also true that logic does not always lead to peace-above--all. Logic might dictate: If we shoot at Klingons first, we may lose that ship, but will mitigate the loss of future ships. If we tuck tail every time, we may save that one ship, but create the loss of many ships in the future. The quickest way to get to a peace deal with the least loss of life is to attack now hard. And I guess it worked. This makes the Vulcans a lot more bad-ass in Trek lore.

By tragic character I mean in the sense of classical drama: where the character commits an action they think it right or have no choice in, and ends up destroying himself in the process. Not sure that applies to any other major character at the same level that it applies to Burnham.    

  

1 hour ago, doctor_odd said:

I advise anyone with any sense to avoid the Star Trek subreddit at this point. It's pretty toxic. Anyone who likes the show is being accused of being paid off by CBS, or of not being a "real fan". I've been a fan for 22 of my 26 years on Earth, and still I'm considered less-than. I'm the insufferable, obsessive kind of fan who can name all the episodes and bores my friends with random trivia. You know, a trekkie. :P  

I experienced this attitude for liking Voyager, and for Enterprise, and even for Deep Space Nine (my favourite show of all time except for maybe Twin Peaks), and now I'm experiencing it for liking Discovery. It's nothing new; some Trek fans are just absolutely awful.

Just FYI, to all of you, nobody can tell you you're not a real fan. Whether you hated the pilot or loved it or are ambivalent about it, there is no correct way to be a Star Trek fan. Except, arguably, in not passing judgment over others for their tastes. Picard wouldn't bully you for preferring Megadeath to Mozart, nor Mozart to Megadeath. If anything, he'd appreciate the cultural and archaeological value of whatever taste you had!

To gatekeep who is and who isn't a fan is bullying, plain and simple. What I appreciate about this forum is that the users are tolerant, empathetic, and understanding. I'm not getting the sense that anyone thinks less of me here because of my opinion of a TV show, even if we wildly disagree.

Anyways, thanks for restoring somewhat my hope in trekkies/trekkers. Y'all are golden. <3

More relevantly, perhaps, y'all are real fans.

Thanks bringing this up. Im not in reddit, but I have been a bit irked by all the mainstream nitpicking and disappointment. Im just not in the mood to read that stuff right now. 

For example, the guy who writes the recaps for the New York Times. He's clearly underwhelmed by DSC and takes on a very snarky tone. I stopped reading the Trek Movie review when the writer called the delta in the sand bit "egregious" or some other over the top word. They gave a more positive review to The Ovrille. Also the Trek Movie podcast, which I love, half of the hosts were clearly disappointed by DSC.     

Im not saying you have to love it. And fans are supposed to nitpick. But I'm just not in the mood. Im still trying to process what the show is actually saying and doing--and I suspect it's deeper than even I realize, let alone all these commentators. There are so many "official" or "professional" opinion-setters right now. Im trying to figure out how to navigate it.   

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4 hours ago, doctor_odd said:

Just FYI, to all of you, nobody can tell you you're not a real fan. Whether you hated the pilot or loved it or are ambivalent about it, there is no correct way to be a Star Trek fan. Except, arguably, in not passing judgment over others for their tastes. Picard wouldn't bully you for preferring Megadeath to Mozart, nor Mozart to Megadeath. If anything, he'd appreciate the cultural and archaeological value of whatever taste you had!

Very much this!
Even if you only like ONE branch of the ST tree, you’re still in the treehouse. :thumbup:

4 hours ago, doctor_odd said:

To gatekeep who is and who isn't a fan is bullying, plain and simple. What I appreciate about this forum is that the users are tolerant, empathetic, and understanding. I'm not getting the sense that anyone thinks less of me here because of my opinion of a TV show, even if we wildly disagree.

I just tune those people out because, frankly, they bore me.   What do they think they’re ‘protecting’ anyway?   Everyone has different takes on things; that’s why we’re individuals, and not mass produced on an assembly line.   IDIC, folks!

 

Now excuse me while I address (and respectfully disagree) with a few of these points (hehe):

9 hours ago, The Founder said:

The most obvious: A t.v. show called Star Trek: Discovery and no ship named ... Discovery. In fact, the principal ship does not make an appearance at all.

Carly Simon once said it best... Anticipation:P

One of the things about serialized Trek; you can slowly unveil over weeks instead of cramming everything into one pilot.

9 hours ago, The Founder said:

The crew - absolutely no build-up with them. So I didn't care when they started dying one by one. They were all, literally, red shirts.

Arguably so were the crew of the Kelvin.  

But since the Shenzhou was only to be a jumping off point, it was okay.   And I thought the dying helmsman in the brig scene very much put a human face on the crew; as did the instantly lovable Capt. Georgiou.   Personally I did feel empathy for them.  Not all of them, of course, but enough to feel the overall loss. 

9 hours ago, The Founder said:

Holograms ... I get that in this century we will have holograms so it is laughable that it took until DS9 for holograms to be used as a means of communication. But ...

Very much agree with this one!  Holocummunicators were supposed to be ‘new’ in the 24th century.    One of the reasons I still think that the show should’ve been set post-24th century, but oh well...

9 hours ago, The Founder said:
  • The Klingons ... wow .... they were terrible. I'm sorry, but this isn't a "they look nothing like TOS Klingons" rant. They were just an extremely boring aspect of the episode. The entire thing seemed ... oddly convoluted. This Klingon "Trump" believes the Klingons will lose their purity. Ok - I can stomach that. In Undiscovered Country - the Klingons were scared their way of life would be shattered if they gave into the "homo sapien's only club" of the Federation. And this Klingon's idea of starting a war with the UFP was to lure a Federation ship there and hope a fight would ensue? Also ... 100 years have gone by and the UFP had little to no relations with them? So since ENT they just disappeared?
  • Now onto my "they look nothing like the TOS Klingons" rant. What happened to "These Klingons look different because, like humans, they don't all look the same." Then cue the leaders of the other Klingon houses .... and they all look like the monster Klingons ... Seriously? I understand people were tired of space vikings. Fine. But .... this was the alternative? I'd like my bug-eyed Gowron, reluctant Martok, and honorable Worf back. Just an FYI - this is not a slight to the actors. I think they did a good job and the Klingons, despite their ridiculous new look, felt Klingon.

Reimagined Klingons didn’t bother me, because they’ve never bothered me in the 38 years since TMP wildly reimagined them as guttural aliens with lobsters on their scalps (that was a BIG leap from the Fu Manchu makeups of the ‘60s).   Or when TNG & its sequels remade them as noble, honor-bound warriors (more like TOS’ Romulans) when TOS and its movies showed the Klingons as sneaky, lying saboteurs and cheats with all the ‘honor’ of a tape worm.

Klingons have always been “Villain X” of Trek; malleable villains who are constantly remade to fit the times.   In the ‘60s they were seen as the worst of what people imagined of the Soviets and Red Chinese.  In the ‘90s, they were the Russians of post-Soviet Union glasnost.   Now?  They represent our fears of personality cults, radicalizing ideologies and loss of cultural identity. That they look suddenly different is just cosmetic to me.   I’ve no problem with it, just as I had no problem with DS9 showing Kor, Koloth and Kang suddenly looking WAY different than they did in the ‘60s.

kor_koloth_kang.jpg

I’d go on, but I have to run right now...  TTYL! ;)

 

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Okay I’m back now, for the moment...:P

 

9 hours ago, The Founder said:

I was intrigued by the idea of a human growing up in an alien culture and then being "re-introduced" into human society but her character did not come off as someone raised by Vulcans. She was highly emotional (although to be fair - she had been with this crew for 7 years and they probably "cracked" the Vulcan shell she had).

T’Pol’s shell cracked a lot sooner; and she was a native Vulcan.  ;)

9 hours ago, The Founder said:

This is not the first Star Trek where the principal characters do dangerous away missions but Burnham sent on that space walk? What...? No such thing as probes in the 23rd century huh?

If the ship’s visual scanners were also being affected (as well as long distance telemetry) a remote probe with similar scanning equipment would’ve been equally unsuccessful. 

9 hours ago, The Founder said:

The opening scene ... A captain and first officer go on some mission of mercy to help what appears to be a pre-warp alien species. They just shoot up a well?

I actually appreciated the elegant simplicity of that mission; the water was under bedrock and that obviously primitive culture had no way to penetrate it.  
Imagine if an entire civilization was threatened into extinction for want of a pair of gardening shears.   You beam down, use the shears, and leave.   The culture is saved.

Meanwhile, you’ve spared that culture any foreknowledge of metallurgy that would affect their development.  

I thought the elegance and relative simplicity of that opening mission worked a hell of a lot better than STID’s stupid ‘cold fusion’ volcano stopper, not to mention the idiocy of hiding a starship underwater for no good reason whatsoever.

You bring up very good points, Founder (as always).  I appreciate the mental workout of challenging them... at my age, I need it.  :P

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Dillkid   

I watched Episode 1 last night, I quite enjoyed it when I over looked the technology looking about 200 years more advanced than it's supposed to at that time. I feel that it would have been better to have set it in the 25th Century, to avoid stepping on egg shells with regards to canon. Michael's Vulcan mentor didn't have to be Sarek after all. I don't see why they have to change the look of the Klingon race, the way they were was fine. It will take some getting used to. It was visualy very impressive, but that means nothing to me if the story going forward isn't interesting. We shall see! They left it on an exciting cliff hanger I'll give them that. I'll be watching Episode 2 tonight.

Edited by Dillkid

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I've thought about another reason the Klingons look the way they do - they've been playing with genetics again (which is what got them to lose their forehead ridges in the first place), perhaps they were trying to fix the problems that had besieged them back in "Star Trek: Enterprise" and it got them to look the way they do now. Perhaps they find that what they did was a bit slipshot before properly rectifying it prior to the events of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

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Dillkid   

I watched Episode 2 tonight, it's very dark isn't it? I'm enjoying it so far, I can see it catching on with the mainstream but it might not be every traditional Star Trek fan's cup of tea. It's not exactly an optimistic view of the future. 

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1 hour ago, Rusty0918 said:

I've thought about another reason the Klingons look the way they do - they've been playing with genetics again (which is what got them to lose their forehead ridges in the first place), perhaps they were trying to fix the problems that had besieged them back in "Star Trek: Enterprise" and it got them to look the way they do now. Perhaps they find that what they did was a bit slipshot before properly rectifying it prior to the events of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

Or that these (the Klingons in DSC) are the 'truest' Klingons (in keeping with their fundamentalist ideologies), and all the ones we've seen are the results of tampering or cross-breeding with some of the 'poor planets in the Klingon systems' that Mara refers to in TOS' Day of the Dove. 

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Sim   
On 25.9.2017 at 5:52 PM, Nombrecomun said:

I think that's a good thing. It has to be different than what we view as 'Star Trek' in order to survive. Let's face it: the franchise we knew and love couldn't make it in today's media intense environment. 

It's not and won't be BSG but it has to be closer to that than TOS-ENT, you know? 

Yes, I absolutely agree. It's great that it's very new -- we already got "old" Star Trek, so there is no justification for just remaking it. ;)

And then, after the 4th watching, it feels much, much more familiar to me now... I was just overwhelmed by all the new impressions during the first viewing. When I rewatched it, after having gotten used to the new elements, the familiar elements jumped to my eye much more.

So now I feel this is a very intriguing, promising start for a new Star Trek show. ;)

The visuals are clearly designed in a manner to get the NuTrek fans on board, too, which isn't a bad thing: The show *has* to look modern in 2017. I don't mind the new Klingon design either (no matter if we'll get an onscreen explanation in the end or not). It's great the look truly alien again.

But apart from design, the show's most fundamental departure from "old" Trek is IMO that for the first time, there is an anti-hero at the center: With all the old Trek in mind, you would have assumed that Burnham's plan miraculously works out and she'll be the hero at the end. Not so here. It backfired big time, she screwed up and now is a pariah -- amazing! That is truly new in Star Trek. :thumbup:

I'm looking forward to Monday to see how it all continues ...

On the bottom line: I'm hooked.

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Sim   
On 28.9.2017 at 6:39 AM, The Founder said:

Ok ... seeing the more recent reviews ... I am glad that I am not the only one not liking this show. At first I thought it was just me. Well here is my two slips of latinum coming from someone that honestly wanted to like this.

I remember reading all over the internet that this pilot would be better than any of the other shows. I can't say I agree at all. It felt so sloppy, rushed, and seemed more like a youtube short. A "set up" to the show. It didn't feel like an actual pilot ... of any show. Not just Star Trek.

The Pros:

  1. The opening credits are pretty unique. I think ever since VOY - fans have been waiting for the ship fly-bys, but I guess gone are the days of that ...
  2. Updated CGI is always nice.
  3. Michelle Yeoh's Captain Phillipa was a wonderful character. I would rather have followed her adventures than Burnham's.
  4. Doug Jone's Saru is... interesting thus far.
  5. James Frain's Sarek wasn't too shabby.
  6. The Shenzou was a nice looking ship. Kind of reminded me of the Kelvin (interior wise at least).
  7. I found Burnham arguing with the ethics of the computer to be amusing. It reminded me of Kirk outsmarting machines in his day.
  8. Nice nod to the Vulcan society by putting young Burnham in one of those learning pods.
  9. The Klingon albino? That wouldn't happen to be the albino fro DS9? The one Dax, Kang, Kor, Koloth hunt?
  10. The uniforms aren't bad and I can see how they are an evolution of the ENT jumpsuit. I just ... hope there is a transition to TOS uniforms. Even if it's on the last episode. There is a book that explains the TOS uniforms are already around ...

The Cons:

  1. The most obvious: A t.v. show called Star Trek: Discovery and no ship named ... Discovery. In fact, the principal ship does not make an appearance at all. Whose bright idea was that? Imagine not seeing the Enterprise, DS9, or VOY in the pilot episodes ... At the very least - the ship should have appeared at the final battle and saved the survivors of the ship.
  2. Platitudes abounds. This episode talked a great Trek deal but didn't really display it. Between Phillipa arguing Starfleet doesn't fire first to the injured officer lamenting they weren't soldiers but explorers. It felt like that was tacked on to shut up fans that felt the jump to war was a bit ... too soon.
  3. The opening scene ... A captain and first officer go on some mission of mercy to help what appears to be a pre-warp alien species. They just shoot up a well? This was a really sloppy idea for exposition. I understand this scene was to offer us an explanation of what is going on and who they are but it was .... done so poorly. I'm sorry, but I honestly think TNG/DS9/VOY did a better job of introducing us to their respective "worlds" than this show did.
  4. The crew - absolutely no build-up with them. So I didn't care when they started dying one by one. They were all, literally, red shirts.
  5. Holograms ... I get that in this century we will have holograms so it is laughable that it took until DS9 for holograms to be used as a means of communication. But ...
  6. The Klingons ... wow .... they were terrible. I'm sorry, but this isn't a "they look nothing like TOS Klingons" rant. They were just an extremely boring aspect of the episode. The entire thing seemed ... oddly convoluted. This Klingon "Trump" believes the Klingons will lose their purity. Ok - I can stomach that. In Undiscovered Country - the Klingons were scared their way of life would be shattered if they gave into the "homo sapien's only club" of the Federation. And this Klingon's idea of starting a war with the UFP was to lure a Federation ship there and hope a fight would ensue? Also ... 100 years have gone by and the UFP had little to no relations with them? So since ENT they just disappeared?
  7. Now onto my "they look nothing like the TOS Klingons" rant. What happened to "These Klingons look different because, like humans, they don't all look the same." Then cue the leaders of the other Klingon houses .... and they all look like the monster Klingons ... Seriously? I understand people were tired of space vikings. Fine. But .... this was the alternative? I'd like my bug-eyed Gowron, reluctant Martok, and honorable Worf back. Just an FYI - this is not a slight to the actors. I think they did a good job and the Klingons, despite their ridiculous new look, felt Klingon.
  8. The episode's pacing was off. It felt rushed and convoluted for no reason. Between her passing out in the asteroid belt and being in sickbay ... or her jumping through space from the brig and suddenly being on the bridge in good condition. WTF?
  9. This is not the first Star Trek where the principal characters do dangerous away missions but Burnham sent on that space walk? What...? No such thing as probes in the 23rd century huh?
  10. Last but not least: Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham. To me - the weakest aspect of this episode. Between shoehorning her in as Spock's half sister (Why did she need to be his sister? Vulcan is a small place...) and her erratic behavior throughout the episode - I was really put off by this character. I was intrigued by the idea of a human growing up in an alien culture and then being "re-introduced" into human society but her character did not come off as someone raised by Vulcans. She was highly emotional (although to be fair - she had been with this crew for 7 years and they probably "cracked" the Vulcan shell she had).
  • The problem with having a singular POV or main character versus an emphasis on an ensemble cast is ... you better make sure that the singular POV is amazing. It would be like watching TNG and the focus is solely on Riker. Frakes' Riker isn't terrible. Just like Burnham isn't terrible. But I'd rather much more focus on Picard/Data/Worf than Riker only. I found Phillipa and Saru more interesting than Burnham .... not a good thing when she solely leads the show.
  • The mutiny scene was incredibly silly, but more importantly ... not yet earned. It had no emotional pull because I never saw these characters grow together. If Worf betrayed Sisko in season 7 or if Data betrayed Picard in season 7 - it would be far more emotional and impactful because we saw these characters grow together. When the mutiny was done in Battlestar Galactica - it was shocking because it was done by characters we had seen for years. Here - I'm just told I'm supposed to be shocked by Burnham doing this because they've been friends for years. When Spock took over the Enterprise in "The Menagerie" - it had some impact because we had already seen several episodes with Spock.
  • I understand the implication she has PTSD from the Klingons and thus becomes less in control due to their presence - but it just wasn't handled particularly well. Maybe if we got more time with the character under normal circumstances then it would have been more powerful when she betrayed her crew.
  • Her relationship with the crew felt so artificial. This was the reason it was a mistake to simply say she had been with the crew for nearly a decade.
  • While it is ... slightly intriguing that she is the focal point for the bloody war between the Federation and Klingons - I didn't realize a single person was responsible for it ... who knew?

Honestly? Besides the money issue - now I can see why Axanar was ... dealt with the way it was. I'm sorry but I am more interested in seeing Admiral Ramirez (Tony Todd) and this war beginning than I am Burnham.

I even watched this episode with my girlfriend who is just learning more about Star Trek. I wanted her opinion because I wasn't sure if mine was bias. Even she agreed it felt really rushed and to a casual fan - it was pretty confusing on who all these people were. If I hadn't been there to explain who the Federation was, the Klingons, etc. She'd have even been more lost.

I understand that all the pilots of all the Trek shows are weak, but oddly enough ... this pilot made me appreciate the others all the more. The slow build up. The introduction of characters. The majestic shots of the ships/station. I honestly like Caretaker more than this .... ouch. Hell, I feel even Abrams did a better job of making it feel like Star Trek (Even if he made it feel like Star Trek meets Transformers). I will never complain again about Enterprise not doing enough to "fit" in the canon. It did a far superior job on that than DSC.

Overall - I am hoping this show improves considerably.

Hey Founder,

great points, and good observation!

Upon first viewing, many of the cons you name irritated me too -- although my bottom line feeling is much more positive. I especially noticed the lack of the ship Discovery, the lack of an introduction of its crew and the main characters, and Burnham's irratic, unrelatable character.

But ... after quite some thinking, I told myself this: This is not a pilot episode of a new Star Trek show. It's episode 1 and 2 of a fully serialized show like "Game of Thrones" or "The Expanse", that will feature a complex arc and character development over the course of entire seasons. All we got to see so far is just the prehistory of Burnham's character.

The new format does not allow a pilot episode like the old shows had -- where we get introduced to all characters and the ship that will be in the focus until episode 178 --, simply because there will be no such strict focus for DSC. The focus will be Burnham, so it was her backstory. Perhaps the show will be less static than previous shows, perhaps even main characters may be killed off during the course of the arcs, much like in the other new serialized shows of this age.

So when Burnham appears hard to relate to, irratic or even irrational in the beginning? That's perhaps part of the idea -- she'll get a character growth arc, over the course of which we're supposed to grow to like her. It's the whole point that she is NOT the flawless, likable hero we expected her to be, because we're used to Star Trek main characters being that. No matter how she'll end up on the Discovery, despite her life in prison, perhaps the crew of the ship will meet her with skepticism and resentment at first, too, and her arc is about how she redeems herself? At least that's one possibility.

And the fact that the entire first 2 episodes are dedicated to Burnham's backstory, that hints at the scope of the upcoming arc: Rather than just tell her backstory in a few words (like in case of Tom Paris in the VOY pilot), we actually get to *see* it with our own eyes. If I'll love the show and the character by the end of the season, I'll perhaps think in retrospect, it was amazing we got to see this backstory, rather than just being told it in a few words. It feels more epic this way.

 

As for the new Klingon look ... yeah, I had to gulp too for a moment... so hard to see these new Klingons as the same race as so many beloved old characters ... but on the other side, I appreciate they truly look alien again. Also, I subsume this under the "this show needs to appeal to new NuTrek fans, too" design paradigm. I guess I'll get used to it. Much like I once got used to the new Klingon look and style in "The Search for Spock".

Edited by Sim

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Sim   
On 28.9.2017 at 0:26 AM, Integral said:

So I watched the first episode and I would say it is pretty mixed and strangely lacks focus.

I liked the Captain (Georgiou is it?) and the Klingons were interesting if a bit confusing.

But...

 

 

 

 

SPOILERS:

1. Why did Burnham have to Vulcan death grip the Captain? They mentioned their seven year working relationship and mutual trust for each other and for one moment it almost shone when Burnham apparently backed down. It's awful characterization and a horrible kick in the stomach- we are supposed to like the Burnham character right?

https://giphy.com/gifs/XsUtdIeJ0MWMo/html5

 

2. And now Klingons are racist!?! So white coloured Klingons (Kelvin Universe Klingons) are untermensch? When did the Klingons care about skin colour? All they cared about was castes and honour.

 

3. And Burnham is so stupid and impulsive. Fly to an unknown object? How about send a probe? Speculating about Klingon motives and jumping to action despite little Federation/Klingon contact? How about trust the Captain's advice and stay put and don't do anything rash!

Ugh- so she's supposed to be smart and a good person, yet the writing makes her out to be the opposite. It's like a covert racist slap in the face- it's like the episode is covertly saying black people are stupid and impulsive. Seriously Burnham's character is the main character and what this series has done with her... I still can't get over that Vulcan death grip...

{---}

Oh well... On to the next episode.

Lord of mercy I am scared as to where this is going to go next because something about the story/plot is offski.

Pray for me...

Maybe I got it all wrong ... but I took it like it was the whole point that Burnham is NOT the "smart and good person": She's irratic and impulsive, despite her Vulcan education, and when she attempts heroism, it backfires big time. I think it was intentional that we're not supposed to like her on first glance, because that's what her redemption character arc that is going to follow is supposed to do, over the course of the season.

At first, I was a bit confused too, because with old Star Trek, classic heros were a given. I was not prepared for seeing an anti-hero. But IMO, that's really the most fundamental departure of DSC compared to old Trek -- we're supposed to sympathize with a flawed character, rather than a hero.

A bit like Tom Paris' backstory... except it's actually more realistically depicted this time -- in case of Tom Paris, they cheated around his character premise by making him too relatable from the beginning, and not even showing his "dark past". This time, we get to see it all.

Edited by Sim

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Dillkid   

I was really surprised when they killed off the Captain, I just assumed that she was going to be a part of the series going forward. I wonder if they will spend several episodes inside the Starfleet prison, that could be quite interesting to see. If Michael has been given life inprisonment, I hope they don't just let her go after one episode. I'm really excited to see what they do. 

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On 9/28/2017 at 0:39 AM, The Founder said:

.

 

 

  1. The Klingons ... wow .... they were terrible. I'm sorry, but this isn't a "they look nothing like TOS Klingons" rant. They were just an extremely boring aspect of the episode. The entire thing seemed ... oddly convoluted. This Klingon "Trump" believes the Klingons will lose their purity. Ok - I can stomach that. In Undiscovered Country - the Klingons were scared their way of life would be shattered if they gave into the "homo sapien's only club" of the Federation. And this Klingon's idea of starting a war with the UFP was to lure a Federation ship there and hope a fight would ensue? Also ... 100 years have gone by and the UFP had little to no relations with them? So since ENT they just disappeared?

Right. After th events of Enterprise, they just vanished? 

Quote
  1. Now onto my "they look nothing like the TOS Klingons" rant. What happened to "These Klingons look different because, like humans, they don't all look the same." Then cue the leaders of the other Klingon houses .... and they all look like the monster Klingons ... Seriously? I understand people were tired of space vikings. Fine. But .... this was the alternative? I'd like my bug-eyed Gowron, reluctant Martok, and honorable Worf back. Just an FYI - this is not a slight to the actors. I think they did a good job and the Klingons, despite their ridiculous new look, felt Klingon.

 

That bit really stuck at me, too. Even with the differences between 60s Klingons and all the crab-headed ones that came later, they still felt like the same culture, they all originated from Quo'nos. 

These ones all looked like Nosferatu. All of them, from all the different houses, supposedly all so different. There wasn't even a passing nod to "unaugmented" Klingons or our more familiar Space Viking Klingons from TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise. Try as I might to just take these as new interpretations of the Klingons, I fear I am a little more superficial than Vie, because this really jarred me out of the story. Even their ships bear little resemblance to what's been seen previously, before and after in the timeline. 

I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I wonder if this will be addressed at any point? The showrunners have said that it'll look like they're ignoring canon but aspects of the story like that will be addressed later - so maybe they will. I already rewatched ep 1 and could accommodate it a little more, but man, those subtitled scenes on the Sarcophagus Ship are drawn out. There seems to be an intention to make the Klingons more "realistic" - to treat them with a po-faced seriousness that'll underline how "different" they are. Let's face it, our TNG-era ones were really kind of hokey, but something about them is relatable. The effort that has gone into making these Klingons identifiably "other" is considerable, so I'm very interested to see how this plays out. 

I also think it's entirely deliberate for Burnham to be portrayed the way she is. When she boards the titular Discovery, that'll be all new for her and us, the audience, and simply by virtue of the fact we met her first, she'll initially remain our POV character (until Saru turns up, anyway). I think that's clever story construction - I hope that's the case, anyway.

I hope these'll turn out to be small complaints. Watching this new Star Trek is a learning curve. I have to say that, so far, there's more here that intrigues me than not, and I want it to win me over. 

Edited by Robin Bland

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12 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

I also think it's entirely deliberate for Burnham to be portrayed the way she is. When she boards the titular Discovery, that'll be all new for her and us, the audience, and simply by virtue of the fact we met her first, she'll initially remain our POV character (until Saru turns up, anyway). I think that's clever story construction - I hope that's the case, anyway.

This is one of the advantages of the show’s serialized format; you can start with a character who has very rough edges and smooth her out over the course of the show.  

13 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

These ones all looked like Nosferatu. All of them, from all the different houses, supposedly all so different. There wasn't even a passing nod to "unaugmented" Klingons or our more familiar Space Viking Klingons from TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise. Try as I might to just take these as new interpretations of the Klingons, I fear I am a little more superficial than Vie, because this really jarred me out of the story. Even their ships bear little resemblance to what's been seen previously, before and after in the timeline. 

^ I doubt that, but okay...:laugh:

I don’t know why exactly, but it just doesn’t bother me the way it seems to bug others.   But based on observations I’ve read (and a response to my Discovery premiere blog entry about the new Klingons’ infidelity to their originals), I wrote this last night:  https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2017/09/29/still-clinging-on-to-the-klingons/

My attempt (however crude and caffeinated) to fully explain my POV on the Klingons. :P

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7 hours ago, Dillkid said:

I wonder if they will spend several episodes inside the Starfleet prison,

I doubt it. It seems like they're getting to Discovery tomorrow, and, unless it's a prison ship....

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Dillkid   
2 hours ago, prometheus59650 said:

I doubt it. It seems like they're getting to Discovery tomorrow, and, unless it's a prison ship....

Hmmmm that would be a shame.

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Yorick   

Critical commentary aside, I'm curious how the running times will trend. Binary Stars clocks in (on Netflix) at 39 minutes. I thought it was a typo at first. This is the one technical aspect that's actually inferior to the 1960s Star Trek! Commercial considerations notwithstanding, egregious on a subscription service (I got to use that NYT word!), at least give us Galactica running times if not Game of Thrones. 

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Integral   
13 hours ago, Sim said:

Maybe I got it all wrong ... but I took it like it was the whole point that Burnham is NOT the "smart and good person": She's irratic and impulsive, despite her Vulcan education, and when she attempts heroism, it backfires big time. I think it was intentional that we're not supposed to like her on first glance, because that's what her redemption character arc that is going to follow is supposed to do, over the course of the season.

At first, I was a bit confused too, because with old Star Trek, classic heros were a given. I was not prepared for seeing an anti-hero. But IMO, that's really the most fundamental departure of DSC compared to old Trek -- we're supposed to sympathize with a flawed character, rather than a hero.

A bit like Tom Paris' backstory... except it's actually more realistically depicted this time -- in case of Tom Paris, they cheated around his character premise by making him too relatable from the beginning, and not even showing his "dark past". This time, we get to see it all.

I have zero love for Burnham and she ain't an anti-hero and worse still her actions killed off the best character the show had going which was Captain Georgiou.

Put it this way the more episode 1 continued and the more episode 2 continued the biggest drag to the show's quality was Burnham's character, I also think her redemption arc is going to be as emo and as dumb as hell.

Basically there's no coming back from the mistakes she made, her actions caused a war to break out between the Klingons and the Federation. There is NOTHING to sympathise with for Burnham because her actions are so stupid.

It's... It's botched story writing and characterization. The show's creators have focused on the wrong character.

Let's hope the other characters yet to be introduced are more interesting.

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3 hours ago, Integral said:

Basically there's no coming back from the mistakes she made, her actions caused a war to break out between the Klingons and the Federation. There is NOTHING to sympathise with for Burnham because her actions are so stupid.

Sisko pulled the Romulans into a war; he did so deliberately.  Technically he was a war criminal.   Yet we, the audience, still found a way to forgive him (or at least I did).

Burnham’s actions were IMO an honest mistake; she genuinely believed her comrades aboard the Shenzhou were at stake, and she was right.  Maybe if they struck first with a “Vulcan hello” the Klingons might’ve respected their strength (?).   I love Georgiou’s character, but a counterargument could be made that her inaction (as well as her condescending ‘we come in peace’ line) further provoked the Klingons.

I saw the battle at the binary stars as a bit of a Kobyashi Maru situation; inaction would’ve emboldened the Klingons and further retaliation would’ve given them what they wanted (and got); a war.   They were itching for a fight either way.  I don’t see how Burnham (or Georgiou) could’ve enacted a more positive outcome.

3 hours ago, Integral said:

I also think her redemption arc is going to be as emo and as dumb as hell.

And there’s also the chance that her redemption arc might... well, redeem her.  :)

3 hours ago, Integral said:

There is NOTHING to sympathise with for Burnham because her actions are so stupid.

Guess I’m the only one who found her sympathetic. :confused: 

Oh well...

She’s young and she’s capable of making mistakes.  I like that ST has the audacity to follow a character who isn’t perfect right out of the box.   Even Ben Sisko was a flawed and broken man who couldn’t get beyond his past in “Emissary”; part of the joy of DS9 was watching him become the commander he was meant to be.  

My favorite captain, Jean-Luc Picard, was irascible and poor with kids when we first met him (“Grumpy Picard” as our own Mr. Picard so memorably calls him!), but he became a more emotionally grounded and humane person over the course of a few years.  I appreciate the evolution

Personally I look forward to Burnham coming back from rock bottom.

 

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kc1966   

Is this the Kelvin timeline?  It can't be the Primeverse because there was no Klingon-Federation war in it.  I double checked Memory Alpha and it only listed the brief war in Errand of Mercy and the one in DS9 inspired by the changelings.   

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9 minutes ago, kc1966 said:

Is this the Kelvin timeline?  It can't be the Primeverse because there was no Klingon-Federation war in it.  I double checked Memory Alpha and it only listed the brief war in Errand of Mercy and the one in DS9 inspired by the changelings.   

It is the Prime Timeline, but Memory Alpha may need to be updated (wouldn’t be the first time...;) ).

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