CBS, WTF have you done to Star Trek?
**The following contains spoilers**
Wow...that was a letdown.
1 - ST:DSC feels NOTHING like Star Trek
For those of you are who are fans of Star Trek (from before the reboot movies), if you thought you were going to kick up your heels and pick up from where we left off back in the 1990s, you are sorely mistaken.
Aside for names, symbols, and other general references to canon lore, there is nothing "Star Trek" about the new show. It's just a lens flare-heavy extension of the new movies that so many die-hard Trekkies already hate.
Here's my theory: The Powers That Be behind this disappointment wanted to pitch a science fiction show. But the story was so weak, so basic, so meh that they had to latch onto an iconic franchise just to get it off the ground.
Meanwhile, CBS needed to get people to give a shit about their ain't-shit streaming app, so what better way than to launch the first new Star Trek show in over a decade exclusively on their ain't-shit app? (yes, I paid the money...no, it's not worth it).
Does anybody else remember when it was supposed to Bryan Fuller running this show on Netflix (where it belongs), not Alex Kurtzmann laying waste to it on CBS? Remember when this was supposed to debut back in January, not this fall? Are we really expected to forget about all the switch-ups and delays, and how that basically spells tragedy for a TV show?
2 - I hate what they've done to the Klingons
Let me be clear, children: just because something is older doesn't meaning automatically needs to be revamped. Ever since the end of Star Trek: Voyager, all the wrong people have been getting their hands on this franchise and they've been doing their damnedest to make it look, feel, and sound nothing like what made it great in the first place. I know some people don't want to hear this, but the Klingon look was perfected back in the 1990s. That's right, I said: makeup artists and stylists (and writers) in the 1990s knew their shit. By the time Season 4 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine rolled around, in addition to their look, Klingons developed a rich, beautiful culture on the show, and an array of awesome characters. I felt nothing of that when I was watching Discovery. Imagine my annoyance upon learning the Federation-Klingon Cold War was going to be the central plot to the new show which, by the way, won't have any standalone episodes. We're going to have a whole-ass season of Klingons who WON'T look like this:
Trekkies of color have a joke that goes: "Humans are the White people of Star Trek." This latest incarnation takes things a bit further and makes White people the White people of Star Trek, and it is horrifying to behold.
You can tell the masterminds behind the new show have probably been called "mayo" one too many times. For a franchise known for its diversity, the current regime is not only heavy on the vanilla casting, but vanilla writing (which was expected, seeing as these are the same people who gave us a White Khan Singh).
Anyways...you've got a dark chocolate Klingon leader named T'Kuvma trying to unite the houses of his planet and he's joined by some orphaned albino Klingon whose named I didn't bother to remember. Upon meeting each other, T'Kuvma promptly says he can tell by the color of the other dude's (pale) skin, he knows he's suffered, been discriminated against, etc. - I'm dead serious. This is actual dialogue from the show. By the end of Episode #2, T'Kuvma lies dying,
Anyways, it turns out our shero (portrayed admirably by the glorious Sonequa Martin-Green) was raised by Vulcans, specifically the Vulcan Sarek. During a standoff with the Klingons, while the humans are tripping themselves not knowing how to act, sis is like, "Uh...Vulcans have been dealing with Klingons a lot longer than we have. And Klingons don't fuck with Vulcans. How about we just ask them what they did?"
When Sarek lets her know you gotta shoot Klingons first and ask questions later, the dutiful Commander tries to tell a
blindingly White Admiral. She explains that Klingons are not interested in eating ice cream and braiding human hair - they are here to fuck humans up, they're a warrior society, and "it's in their nature."
To which the White Admiral basically tells her that someone with her Black-ass background ought to know better than to make judgments based on race.
I'mma be real with y'all: shit like this (and that God-awful Darwin scene in X-Men: First Class) makes me wary of present-day White folks writing science fiction and trying to provide social commentary. It's not their forte. So when the Klingons promptly fucked up the Admiral's ship (aptly named the USS Europa, no less), I damn near burst into applause.
Side note: I do like the idea of having a Black shero raised by Vulcans. I hate that her name is Michael Burnham.
Moving on...the vanilla writing continues with the White obsession of 1) being at war instead fun episodes about exploration, First Contact, conflict mediation, Shakespearean political intrigue, and commentary on morality and ethics (you know...Star Trek). And 2) not only are we treated to this
sociopathic obsession with war, White people are painted as the civilized explorers who "come in peace". Now...let's stop and think about this. You're a Klingon (or a Vulcan). You are familiar with humans, you've learned English and studied their history (while they haven't bothered to learn any of your languages or study your history), and you've noticed a certain...pattern of behavior. Now these same assholes who couldn't get along with members of their own species, have the gall to come to you talmbout, "We come in peace."
Uh, hell no!!!
White people are probably watching this thinking, "OMG...why are the aliens sooo mean and sooo unreasonable?" Meanwhile, POC are nodding and going, "Yeah, mm-hm, sounds about right." After all, they're not from Earth. They don't have to put up with this bullshit. They ain't going out like that.
4 - CBS owes Michelle Yeoh a formal apology
Sis gets stabbed in the chest at the end of Episode #2 and left on a heavily damaged Klingon ship. Um...why?
I could easily see her as a series regular, commanding her ship. As Captain, she had the grace and poise to rival that of Jean-Luc Picard, and the no-nonsense grit of Kathryn Janeway. Her charisma was simply off the charts. I would not have been pissed if this had ended up being her show. I would have been ecstatic.
We've talked about this before, this tendency to use famous POC to attract audiences to basic White bullshit and/or launch the careers of relatively unknown White people. Sleepy Hollow, anyone? How about Marco Polo?
Michelle Yeoh better not be dead, is all I'm saying. I plan to stick this out for the one season I'm sure it's gonna get, but don't expect glowing happy skippy reviews from me. This was a fail. And the fact that they tried to exploit Black Girl Magic to draw a wider audience for this blasphemy is deeply insulting. #SonequaDeservesBetter
What's next...Misty Knight's gonna hook up with Danny Bland in Season 2 of Incompetent Fist?
(Quick shout-out to actor James Frain as "Sarek"; I was skeptical at first, bruh, but your Vulcan handling of your obvious affection for Michael won me over. Also, I've always like your face for some reason.
Also...I like that the Klingons spoke to one another in Klingon.)