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prometheus59650

Episode 1.7: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" Discussion Thread

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16 hours ago, Tupperfan said:

Alright, half-assed attempt number 2, don't expect it to be the unprecedented piece of genius writing that was my first iteration, but consider it a tribute. :P

The Americano-centrism of Trek has been something that has annoyed me since my early days on Trekweb, and I've been vocal about it before, but I'm more or less from the showcased culture myself, so I get it. I get that Kirk's Enterprise celebrates American Thanksgiving, that Federation Standard is English, that Tom Paris' fondness for the 20th century is actually a fondness for some (white) perception of America.

I get it, but I don't get why, in a day and age where American high-budget entertainment products rely more and more on international revenue, that a world-uniting (literally) show - one that, ironically, doesn't fare that well in many foreign markets, especially when compared to other franchises - that is available everywhere right off the bat, and highlights its diversity even more than before (and don't misread me, it's great) by starting off with a Malay captain and a Chinese-named starship, heads back to the familiar trope of a 21st century American federation.

Unless of course it's the whole plan: Burnham, a high-ranking (First Officer) foreigner (Near-Vulcan) now joining a new society (Discovery) as an outcast in near-servitude who will then slowly blend-in and contribute through here talent and hard-work. The Federation dream!

So I do get that it's an American show whose true goal is to reflect its society through the prism of Science-Fiction, and I'm averagely okay with it. But I would like to see more actual diversity, acknowledging where we are heading as a globalized (to a degree or another, like it or not) civilization - something that even TOS actually did better - not to mention seeing more diversity at the interstellar level within the confines of the fictional Federation (even if it could be established that there are Starfleet ships crewed by majority species other than humans, akin to the Vulcan-crewed Intrepid in TOS).

So yeah, I get it, but it annoys me, which is what things I love do to me, sometimes.

I have no issue, at all, with Discovery being more Trekish. But with about a dozen episodes a season, I was hoping the plan was not to re-hash the time-honoured Trek time gimmick (Time crystals? This has to be close to the mushroom-drive for bogus science. But this is Star Trek after all, so as others have mentioned: who keeps count by now) because all it did was to remove any sense of jeopardy, no doubt an impressive feat itself, as modern TV fully embraces the "no one is safe" model. So, as you mildly wonder how the crew will get out of this pickle - thank goodness that Stamets' mushroom trip side-effects include Guinan Nexus-ish Timeline Awareness, which was thankfully nicely setup through a mirror in an earlier episode) - you realize that it actually feels Trekish because it's been done, to death, in Trek, before. 

I also have no issues with bottle episodes, which Discovery does very well (already the second time), especially as it allows us to delve into the characters a little more - something that Burnham desperately needs - but relying on a De Integro Machina that is not only too frequent in Trek, but that I was also hoping we'd at least avoid for a time (no pun intended. Actually, yes, pun intended, but it's bad. Heads up...in the past), doesn't get many in the crowd to go anywhere but mild.

As for Mudd, he was entertaining (and props to Rainn Wilson), but he is, like his TOS future-self counterpart, quickly getting old (and by quickly, I mean half an episode ago). Furthermore, the dude is actually quite the danger, getting away with murder, treason and jaywalking, for which he gets a space ticket and is dumped on his in-laws, never to be seen again. Cause, you know, the guy was clearly running on tricks fumes.

So, I'll keep watching, because I love Trek, I want to know where this goes and how much they'll end up meeting up with diverging from TOS.

Because that's the thing: After over a decade without any new Trek on TV (something that has been a weekly happening since my early teenage years), I desperately want to like it, but for now, it's been a lukewarm trip.

And yet:

 

 

 

 

believe.jpg

I wholeheartedly agree with what you've written...even though I'm sure it pales in comparison to what you wrote originally. ;)

I also thought it was great to see a more diverse take on the future only to have some of that be dashed by the second episode. However, there is still a lot of diversity just perhaps not from the national perspective. It is highly anglocized which I can't stand. Wilson Cruz plays the chief medial officer Hugh Culber(yuck). Why couldn't he be Carlos? Or Fareed? Shazad Latif plays the security guy Ash Tyler. You can't get any more middle America than that one. Why couldn't he do a British accent? That at least would provide some tonal change. Same for Jason Isaacs. This is one of the reasons that Firefly continues to be a more apt portrayal of our future. They were smart enough to include Chinese into their dialog, even though mostly for cursing, but it still is an acknowledgement of the influence other cultures have. I would have thought this new show would have learned the lessons of such other franchises. 

 

On the episode itself, I agree with you. The last two eps are stories we've seen before. I happen to love TNG's Cause And Effect so I enjoyed this episode. I did like that it had very intimate moments. I really loved the scientist's exposition regarding how he met his husband. Very heartfelt moment. 

I'm not too sure of 'Super Mudd', as he was described in an earlier post. I'm fine with re-purposing characters but this guy is a hell of a genius. I can't imagine he'll be contained that easily by marriage. If this is truly the last we've seen of him then he goes out with a weird whimper of an exit. 

I just hope they go back to the main story line involving the Klingons. I have decades of this type of filler eps at my fingertips. 

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A lot of people talking about how Mudd got away, so here's my take on it:

Had starfleet locked him up, they would have to spend a lot of resources in keeping him locked up, not to mention fallow a hundred rules on ethical treatment of prisioners. More than that, they don't have much evidence against Mudd. For all they know Mudd was a stupid crazy man who thought he could sell a ship to the Klingons. Sure, everybody on Discovery knows what happened, but how are they suppose to prove that? I mean, they probably would have to prove it if they ware to request Mudd being arrested in a top noch security facility. The loops reseted everything everythime, and in the last one we don't see Mudd commit any "real crime", he just moves around holding a phaser, which yeah, is a crime I guess, but not enough to put him in a high level security prision.

I see the logic behind Disco's ending. Sure, it seemed all sweet and cute, but that's not what's happening on that scene. What we see in that scene is a famous and rich weapons dealer catching up to the man that fooled his daughter and stole his money. He won't kill him because his daughter still loves the jerk, but I'm pretty sure he will spent all kinds of money to secure him and make sure he never gets away from his view again. He can spent a hell lot more than Starfleet on that, and he doesen't have to oblige to any moral codes. Mudd's not going home on that ship, he's going to a prision. A very dangerous one. The first misteruous move he makes I'm pretty sure Stella's dad will have him killed. He's not gonna lose his money again.

Now, we can come up with several ways to explain why he was seen free years later, but the point is, at the time Disco's set, it's not that illogical to have done what they did.

Edited by Garak the spy

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On 10/28/2017 at 2:13 PM, Sehlat Vie said:

She's adorable.   So help me, if I were (very) young and single?  I’d be #TeamTilly for sure...;)

Well, those Star Treks took place a century later.  And the people of the 24th century are supposed to be more ‘evolved’ than the more rough-and-tumble folks of the 23rd (think Bones & Spock’s bickering, for example).  

Not to mention the Enterprise was the pride of the fleet; the flagship.  Disco is an experimental science vessel; so I see Disco’s crew more like a bunch of Caltech students who are suddenly drafted into the navy.   The Enterprise’s crew were supposed to be the best of the best.   It’s not surprising that discipline there is a lot tighter. 

I loved the party flat out. But I also am sure there were similar parties on the 1701-D among the lower decks crowd. DSC is a lower decks kind of show. Two main characters--Tilly and Burnham--don't even have ranks. None of the senior staff were at that party, except for Tyler and he's younger than the other bridge officers. Older more seasoned crew go to more seasoned social entertainment. But youth are going to listen to loud music and dance no matter what century you are in.  

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9 minutes ago, Justin Snead said:

I loved the party flat out. But I also am sure there were similar parties on the 1701-D among the lower decks crowd. DSC is a lower decks kind of show. Two main characters--Tilly and Burnham--don't even have ranks. None of the senior staff were at that party, except for Tyler and he's younger than the other bridge officers. Older more seasoned crew go to more seasoned social entertainment. But youth are going to listen to loud music and dance no matter what century you are in.  

I admit I do keep forgetting the sort of "Lower Decks" element of this show, but I expect you're right.

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On 10/29/2017 at 2:22 AM, Tupperfan said:

But in this case, unless it's some kind of late 20th/early 21st century-themed retro party, all the cultural elements feel truly out of place and anachronistic, and it honestly takes me out of the universe (which seems to be a progressively intentional thing by TPTB at ST:Discovery). Is Beer Pong truly that much of a staple that its legacy will last for over two centuries?!? Come on! It's not even the most fun drinking game at any given self-respecting party, and these games get old seconds after you realize you can enjoy drinking and social settings without getting hammered once you hit something like 22 or, in my case, 35. And don't get me wrong, I love Wyclef Jean, but will he be one of the few artists of our time to transcend the centuries? I mean, they already quoted the Beatles and these boys have a slightly better chance. And even then, I'm not sure. 

I had to chuckle because you reminded me of something Ive noticed on my rewatch of TOS. Many of the songs sang in that series were songs that it feels like people who were old in 1966 would have been able to sing along to, that have now completely vanished from popular memory. They were limited to songs that they did not have to pay royalties for. Think of the song Kevin Riley sings in The Naked Time, but there are other examples Im forgetting. To TOS's credit they wrote some great original songs, which Uhura sang in a couple episodes. I think Roddenberry wrote each of them. It would be cool if DSC continued that tradition and wrote some original, futuristic but pop, rock or hip hop sounding songs for future parties.        

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1 minute ago, Justin Snead said:

It would be cool if DSC continued that tradition and wrote some original, futuristic but pop, rock or hip hop sounding songs for future parties.        

I am completely behind this. :)

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On 10/30/2017 at 4:48 AM, Yorick said:

This episode dated Stardate 2136 point something takes place after Mudd's Women, Stardate 1329. I thought they were going to get it right way back in episode one when when the Stardate was 12 something. It's a minor, trivial thing but that makes it a minor, trivial effort to avoid. It's just typing. With Mudd now a bit crazed and deadly, there should be none of that prime timeline guff any more, not unless there's something mighty weird and wild coming the a universe near you before the show ends. That said, I'm enjoying the show! 

Oh interesting. I thought TOS stardates where just random jibberish, and the dates did not get standardized until TNG era. Has anyone research how the stardates match up with DSC? Becasue as I recall TOS and TNG dates are different systems with different amounts of numbers. I feel like the writers have thought this through like they have nearly every other aspect of canon. 

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36 minutes ago, Justin Snead said:

I had to chuckle because you reminded me of something Ive noticed on my rewatch of TOS. Many of the songs sang in that series were songs that it feels like people who were old in 1966 would have been able to sing along to, that have now completely vanished from popular memory. They were limited to songs that they did not have to pay royalties for. Think of the song Kevin Riley sings in The Naked Time, but there are other examples Im forgetting. To TOS's credit they wrote some great original songs, which Uhura sang in a couple episodes. I think Roddenberry wrote each of them. It would be cool if DSC continued that tradition and wrote some original, futuristic but pop, rock or hip hop sounding songs for future parties.        

Normally I might be inclined to agree about recording new future pop music, save for two reasons:

The Disco was in keeping with the name of their ship.   It was cute, and it also reminded me of young people today who have '80s parties and get them all wrong. :laugh:

Secondly, science fiction has a long, terrible tradition of trying to create 'future music' (Buck Rogers, the original Battlestar Galactica and a few others come to mind).   As detective "Shaft" says in the 2000 remake, "Stick to what you know." ;)

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On 10/30/2017 at 10:09 AM, prometheus59650 said:

See, that doesn't bother me at all simply because I don't believe the creators when they tell me this is the primeline. Not when they show me stuff like this.

I might have believed he could jack the computer if they'd shown or implied that before he started involving  the crew HE was in this loop probably thousands of times to basically learn the software of the ship.

But, since they didn't...different Mudd.

The writers gave a patina of justification for why Mudd was able to do what he did to Discovery: he robbed a Betezoid bank. At first that might seem like a throw away fan reference, but think how hard it would be to steal from a building of full telepaths. Granted the script glossed over how he could so completely control the ship's systems--but this is a case of accepting implausible plot points for the sake of the overall story. If enjoy that story as I do, you can go along with it. If you don't care for it, there is plenty to nitpick. Trek has always given their villain's wide latitude and miraculous abilities in service of the plot.

I want to make the case for why DSC's Mudd and TOS's Mudd are the same character. TOS Mudd did have ruthless tendencies. There is a strong wink that he had a hand in the death of Leo Walsh, who's identity he then assumed (maybe that's how he escaped Stella). There was also a scene in Mudd's Women where he hatches a plan to take over the Enterprise and make Kirk follow his orders. When I watched that scene a few months ago, I thought it was a bit silly that he could think himself so capable. But after seeing "Magic" I now know that 1) Mudd has done this kind of thing before; and 2) he has some skill sets that were not fully revealed in TOS that allowed for such a takeover to be plausible. I have not seen I, Mudd in a long time, but didn't he basically take over the 1701, and fully intend to maroon the crew on a lifeless planet? 

Yes on TOS he was a "lovable rogue" but he was still a rogue capable of just about anything. The Mudd we see on DSC actually helps the character to make more sense, makes him more realistic. 

Yet again we see DSC adding new layers to canon, particularly TOS canon, proving why prequels can be so valuable to the franchise. Watching TOS after DSC will be like seeing it with new eyes--but only for those of us who accept DSC as canon, and are enjoying it enough to accept it into our own head canon. If that's not you, that's just fine. But I for one am loving how DSC is adding to the richness of my own private Trek Universe.         

 

On 10/31/2017 at 6:37 PM, Sehlat Vie said:

Even from what the crew observed, he attempted to hijack a Federation starship and sell it out to the Klingons.  That would at the very least get him imprisonment.   That’s a lot more dangerous and ruthless than the space pimp/penny ante racketeer we meet in “Mudd’s Women.” 

 

Yes this is the criticism of this episode I had to admit was valid, but then I thought: the way "Magic" ended was such an homage--really endearing in a way--to TOS-style resolutions, that I just don't care.  

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46 minutes ago, Justin Snead said:

The writers gave a patina of justification for why Mudd was able to do what he did to Discovery: he robbed a Betezoid bank. At first that might seem like a throw away fan reference, but think how hard it would be to steal from a building of full telepaths. Granted the script glossed over how he could so completely control the ship's systems--but this is a case of accepting implausible plot points for the sake of the overall story. If enjoy that story as I do, you can go along with it. If you don't care for it, there is plenty to nitpick. Trek has always given their villain's wide latitude and miraculous abilities in service of the plot.

But Harry Mudd, at least as he was defined in TOS and TAS, wasn’t really that kind of criminal mastermind; he was more of a shady two-bit con man and pimp who had lucky breaks.  Even after he stole a spaceship, he couldn’t navigate (“I, Mudd”) and now we’re supposed to believe he’s some kind of half-a$$ Danny Ocean. 

46 minutes ago, Justin Snead said:

Yes this is the criticism of this episode I had to admit was valid, but then I thought: the way "Magic" ended was such an homage--really endearing in a way--to TOS-style resolutions, that I just don't care.  

Goodness knows I’m willing to overlook a few continuity sins in favor of a fun story (see: most of ENT), but this ‘homage’ also had Lorca acting WAAAY out of character just to keep Mudd in relatively good health (and out of prison) as to setup his appearances in TOS.

I would prefer an ending where Mudd realizes the crew is onto him, cuts his losses, escapes, and just gets away somehow.  Maybe his ‘beloved’ Stella could’ve received an emergency transponder from him and ‘rescued’ Mudd in a getaway spaceship somewhere. 

Otherwise the Lorca I’ve seen previously on the series would’ve kicked Mudd’s a$$ a hundred times before breakfast, and then tossed him out of an airlock.  Continuity be damned. 

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Hammer   

I've rewatched all DISCO episodes several times, but I only gave this one a single rewatch. I thought that the events near the end of the episode were completely out of character for Lorca and Mudd should have recognized it. I know they had to keep him alive, but that ending was a groaner. Mudd should have seen through the deception as well I thought.... The ending was a total dramatic cheat... consolidating his debts with one lender? What?! This guy didn't get rich by being a moron. They tried to give this episode a classic feel for the ending I think, and ended up looking campy. 

Overall a very messy episode. It wasn't in the ball park of worst Trek episodes ever, but it was definitely below average.

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4 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Normally I might be inclined to agree about recording new future pop music, save for two reasons:

The Disco was in keeping with the name of their ship.   It was cute, and it also reminded me of young people today who have '80s parties and get them all wrong. :laugh:

Secondly, science fiction has a long, terrible tradition of trying to create 'future music' (Buck Rogers, the original Battlestar Galactica and a few others come to mind).   As detective "Shaft" says in the 2000 remake, "Stick to what you know." ;)

I respectfully disagree. “It’s Love, Love, Love” from the original BSG is a work of considerable brilliance and it should be reworked by Wyclef Jean into the DISCO’s disco theme tune for future lower decks parties. 

[Runs] 

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18 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

I respectfully disagree. “It’s Love, Love, Love” from the original BSG is a work of considerable brilliance and it should be reworked by Wyclef Jean into the DISCO’s disco theme tune for future lower decks parties. 

[Runs] 

Okay, an admission of guilt: I have the BSG 25th anniversary soundtrack (and Stu Philips’ autograph).  I used to LOVE “It’s Love, Love, Love...” (excuse the redundant pun) when I was a kid.  “It don’t matter where you go, It don’t matter what you do..."

In the interest of full disclosure. :angel_not: :giggle:

 

But Buck Rogers’ “Space Rockers” (the group “Andromeda”) was an experience I’m not eager to repeat in my lifetime.  :laugh:

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2 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Okay, an admission of guilt: I have the BSG 25th anniversary soundtrack (and Stu Philips’ autograph).  I used to LOVE “It’s Love, Love, Love...” (excuse the redundant pun) when I was a kid.  “It don’t matter where you go, It don’t matter what you do..."

In the interest of full disclosure. :angel_not: :giggle:

 

But Buck Rogers’ “Space Rockers” (the group “Andromeda”) was an experience I’m not eager to repeat in my lifetime.  :laugh:

Just for you, here's Giorgio Moroder's extended version - it's the BSG theme and it segues into Love, Love, Love:

 

...Aaaaand I have (yes, own) the Buck Rogers soundtrack with Domething Kinda Funky on it... :laugh:

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2 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Okay, an admission of guilt: I have the BSG 25th anniversary soundtrack (and Stu Philips’ autograph).  I used to LOVE “It’s Love, Love, Love...” (excuse the redundant pun) when I was a kid.  “It don’t matter where you go, It don’t matter what you do..."

In the interest of full disclosure. :angel_not: :giggle:

 

But Buck Rogers’ “Space Rockers” (the group “Andromeda”) was an experience I’m not eager to repeat in my lifetime.  :laugh:

Darn it, now you made me remember Jerry Orbach as their manager.

I hate you now. :P

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16 hours ago, prometheus59650 said:

Darn it, now you made me remember Jerry Orbach as their manager.

I hate you now. :P

:giggle:

17 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

Just for you, here's Giorgio Moroder's extended version - it's the BSG theme and it segues into Love, Love, Love:

 

...Aaaaand I have (yes, own) the Buck Rogers soundtrack with Domething Kinda Funky on it... :laugh:

OMG!!  This so takes me back to the days of Meco Menardo...and yes, I had all of those damn albums.  

:laugh:

 

This folks, is why science fiction and contemporary music have long had a problematic (though occasionally brilliant) relationship...:P

Now I'm wondering if DSC will have a very special roller boogie episode...:giggle:

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Yorick   
On 09/11/2017 at 10:46 AM, Justin Snead said:

Oh interesting. I thought TOS stardates where just random jibberish, and the dates did not get standardized until TNG era. Has anyone research how the stardates match up with DSC? Becasue as I recall TOS and TNG dates are different systems with different amounts of numbers. I feel like the writers have thought this through like they have nearly every other aspect of canon. 

Well, they were back to the 13s last week, so maybe they're indeed going the random gibberish route this time around. From the original series through the animated and the various 24th century Treks, they sort-of lined up. There was a bit of a moment when Stamets did the "Captain, what are you doing here" thing where I thought, ah ha! The spores are going to lead to some kind of space-time twisty thingy a'la "Parallels" and it all comes together. Explains the Klingons, the high tech and everything. 

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On 11/11/2017 at 5:28 PM, Yorick said:

Well, they were back to the 13s last week, so maybe they're indeed going the random gibberish route this time around. From the original series through the animated and the various 24th century Treks, they sort-of lined up. There was a bit of a moment when Stamets did the "Captain, what are you doing here" thing where I thought, ah ha! The spores are going to lead to some kind of space-time twisty thingy a'la "Parallels" and it all comes together. Explains the Klingons, the high tech and everything. 

I'm still hoping for something like that...

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On 11/11/2017 at 5:28 PM, Yorick said:

Well, they were back to the 13s last week, so maybe they're indeed going the random gibberish route this time around. From the original series through the animated and the various 24th century Treks, they sort-of lined up. There was a bit of a moment when Stamets did the "Captain, what are you doing here" thing where I thought, ah ha! The spores are going to lead to some kind of space-time twisty thingy a'la "Parallels" and it all comes together. Explains the Klingons, the high tech and everything. 

I haven't seen the last episode yet, but I really do not need or want them to create some alternate timeline explanation for why the Discovery sets are not made of plywood and Styrophome. I'm all for exploring parallel universes and what not, but DSC fits just fine with TOS as is, at least in my head canon.  

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1 minute ago, Justin Snead said:

I haven't seen the last episode yet, but I really do not need or want them to create some alternate timeline explanation for why the Discovery sets are not made of plywood and Styrophome. I'm all for exploring parallel universes and what not, but DSC fits just fine with TOS as is, at least in my head canon.  

And, at the end of it, that is the most important thing; how the audience perceives it.   Some will try (like me) to ‘make it fit’ and others will simply accept it as is (I liked Prometheus’ play analogy).   And neither way is wrong; because at the end of the day our own unique head-canons are the only interpretive lenses that matter.  

Beauty truly IS in the eye of the beholder.

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Just now, Sehlat Vie said:

And, at the end of it, that is the most important thing; how the audience perceives it.   Some will try (like me) to ‘make it fit’ and others will simply accept it as is (I liked Prometheus’ play analogy).   And neither way is wrong; because at the end of the day our own unique head-canons are the only interpretive lenses that matter.  

Beauty truly IS in the eye of the beholder.

And there is so much beauty in DSC. Not just visually, though as others have pointed out Trek has NEVER looked this good. But beauty in thematic expression, in storytelling, in character, in real-world social commentary, (and in canon fidelity!!!) Those of us who see all this can sometimes be baffled or just saddened that others don't because of what we perceive as their superficial hangups or sentimental attachments to old school Trek style. But at the end of the day I accept that their point of view is just as valid as mine.

Though I do want to ask them: "When do you expect Trek to be rebooted yet again in a way that suits your tastes?" If you're going to sit out DSC, how do you think of your relationship with the franchise right now, and what are your hopes for the future? I sat out most of VOY and all of ENT, so I had to wait a good 15 years for Trek to come my way again. But it has, and in a more glorious and loving way than I ever could have imagined. DSC is the kind of prequel I remember hoping ENT would be. It has the character dynamics and realism that I used to wish VOY had. So there's hope in that. If DSC isn't for you, a new Trek will come around some day. But I hope you have to wait a long time, because I want to current Trek to be around for a while.       

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14 hours ago, Justin Snead said:

I haven't seen the last episode yet, but I really do not need or want them to create some alternate timeline explanation for why the Discovery sets are not made of plywood and Styrophome. I'm all for exploring parallel universes and what not, but DSC fits just fine with TOS as is, at least in my head canon.  

This.

I've already reconciled the two designs in that, if TOS were made today (young, Nimoy, Shatner, and all the rest) it'd look like DSC, not an old 60s show.

That said, so far there's pretty much nothing they're doing here in a prequel that they couldn't do post Voyager. One could even explain the retro elements of the ship fairly simply. We know M5 went nuts and the likes of Data and Lore and creating sentient supervillain holograms with a misspoken word, you certainly have planted all the seeds for some sort of human/AI conflict that left Starfleet skittish about computers that can basically rewire themselves and what they can do in six button-presses or less.

Maybe there's that same level of paranoia now about AI that there seems to be still about genetic engineering.  

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