I like Star Trek Discovery.
A Trekker for 40+ years, I have spent far too long hating various incarnations of Star Trek. This is an admission of guilt, and a celebration of everything I love about Star Trek.
Discovery is the latest in a series of shows and films in the Star Trek franchise. Originally appearing over 52 years ago in 1966, Star Trek has appeared in many different forms and styles over the half-century since its inception. Each incarnation of series and film strive to tell interesting stories about the human condition, as seen from hundreds of years into the future through the lens of space opera and science fiction.
Some stories are more focused on action, some are courtroom dramas, while others are heavy-handed allegory about social conditions.
Always changing, no matter the form it takes, Star Trek is a vehicle of the imagination. It affords the audience a opportunity to reflect on ourselves and society from a different perspective, and asks us to put aside our differences in celebration of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.
Each incarnation of Star Trek has been received by audiences differently, with some becoming critical and commercial successes, and others being remembered mostly for how embarrassingly bad their execution is, no matter how heady the concept.
Personally, I have been a Star Trek fan as far back as I can remember. Sitting in front of the TV as a child and watching Mr. Scott slide the levers along the control panel, only to have the crew dematerialize accompanied by that eerie and iconic sound was magical.
Despite loving the characters, stories, adventures, and wild technology that Star Trek continued to offer up over the years, there were incarnations that I didn’t like.
Yes, there were some bad episodes in the original series. Okay, some really, really bad episodes.
And movies. Some of the movies are fairly terrible.
When the next generation started, it was weird. Really, really weird, and bad. Some of it was exceptionally bad. But I stuck with it and eventually the show came together and turned into an excellent Star Trek.
In fact, it became so good, that when the next series, Deep Space 9, began airing, I was deeply uninterested. Offended even, at how dissimilar the show was from the previous series I so desperately loved. deep Space 9 was dark, dirty, and filled with Shady, despicable characters. Atop the tonal shift, it wasn’t even about the ‘trekking’ exploration that had been the series hallmark up to this point.
I didn’t watch it long.
Likewise, I passed by most of Voyager, and all of Enterprise. During the 2009 reboot of Star Trek by J.J. Abrams, I literally walked out of the theater in disgust.
It was no longer ‘My Trek’. It didn’t meet my predefined and limiting conception of what Star Trek should be.
Boy was I wrong.
Eventually I came around and watched every Star Trek on which I could get my hands, and ended up loving a lot of it. Deep Space 9 I now recognize as masterfully ahead of its time. But for years I harbored a strong, bitter sentiment towards the franchise, and was happy to tell anyone who would listen about why Deep Space 9 was terrible, why Voyager was a waste, why Enterprise was worthless, and how the J.J. Abrams reboot films were objectively bad.
Truth be told, Star Trek has its share of crap. There are poorly conceived scripts, lame timplementations of good ideas, downright bad ideas, heavy-handed and preachy messages, and more conflicts in continuity than you can shake a stick at.
But no matter how bad Star Trek has gotten, it has always, always tried to get us, the audience, to consider what makes us human. It has always been progressive and inclusive, and welcoming to everyone.
Now, I have reached a point where I realize that there is no such thing as “My Trek”. I am not required to like an episode or a film, and there are many I vehemently don’t like. I am not entitled to having anything my way.
That said, I absolutely adore Star Trek Discovery.
I know that the show has a very different look and feel from other Trek series which focus on the greatest characters humanity (and alien kind) have to offer. Discovery instead follows the misaligned, the cowards, and the morons as they struggle to do what is right while under the control of a brutal, controlling, narcissistic, megalomaniac.
Look, I am done nitpicking the visual style of a show and how it does not align with someone’s idea of what the future would be like from their vantage point in 1965.
I don’t care much if the ‘canon’ timeline is not adhered to because some stardates don’t match.
My identity is not defined by how much of the technical manual I can recite, nor do I care what the combination to Captain Kirk’s safe is.
(by the way, he changes it)
In an age when corporate greed churns out the same content again and again, sticking as closely to the formula as possible, I am supremely impressed that Discovery is so different from other Trek series. It would have been easy to simply make more of TNG or Voyager, much like competing shows use the formula to great success.
Discovery is boldly stepping outside of the comfort zone, pushing boundaries, and causing us, the audience, to consider what it means to be human. Yeah, it ruffles feathers, but so did every single entry in Star Trek before.
Star Trek is progressive, inclusive, and forward-thinking, and I am excited to be in such a time of plenty for the franchise.
Of late, I have become deeply saddened at the overwhelming public hate and toxic nature of fandoms. Star Wars, video games, Doctor Who, and oddly enough, Star Trek, are all seemingly plagued by vitriol and hatemongering.
I don’t know what happened to sanity or public discourse. The unfiltered hate spewing from people is heartbreaking, especially since such anger is over imaginary stories, designed for entertainment.
Instead of adding to the poisonous hate-filled noise, I decided to make a video celebrating what I love.