Star Trek Discovery: “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” & “Into the Forest I Go” Review

Final thoughts on the first block of episodes of Discovery by Alex and returning guest writer Jessica aka “Angriest Fangirl There Is”.

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With the first block of episodes of Discovery complete, I thought it would be nice to stand back for a minute and take stock of… WHAT DO YOU MEAN TWO MONTHS BREAK?!

Joke aside, I’m so surprised how positive my experience with Discovery has been on the whole this past two months. My live Star Trek watching experiences have boiled down to Enterprise, the Nemesis, and the Kelvinverse. Yeah, I’ve got some issues. The more surprising it was that Discovery blew my socks off.

In retrospect, the pilot is arguably the weakest part of the season, having to introduce characters and events to set up the series proper yet not give enough time to really care about anyone at all really, making Burnham’s betrayal kind of hard to follow. Yet the nature of the show allowed it to steadily build over the next few weeks. It’s a reaction I’ve now seen from both my dad and cover designer/collaborator Peter, as both needed a couple of episodes to get into it. I think my reaction was so overwhelmingly positive to begin with because I was just starving for some good space opera, and a good Trek show to boot. Something familiar yet new. Discovery delivered despite some growing pains.

Look, I’ve babbled on and on about this show for several reviews now and you know my position at this point. All I can do is reiterate and say that this pair of episodes was simply great. You care about the characters like no Trek team before in the short period you had with them, the story, while simple, was engaging, and I felt myself on the edge of my seat during “Into the Forest I Go” specifically. It’s sometimes hard to put into words what makes Star Trek what it is. Most people have their own opinion, usually depending on which show introduced them to the franchise. For me that was watching TOS. More specifically, the TOS movies on VHS and on TV, as much as the other shows. While DS9 has my favorite story and characters, the charm and pull of TOS can’t be overstated. As cliche as it is: it truly was a simpler time. Swashbuckling adventures with some high (and low) brow scifi concepts. I think it says something about the quality of a show when you can so vividly recall singular moments. I probably know more about the other shows combined, but TOS is more memorable still in the small details.

I give you this preamble to state once and for all one thing: Discovery is Trek. It oozes its love for the franchise. Star Trek is flexible, it can take on many forms and has done so in the past. Discovery can, and has, bridged the divide between the old and the new and put itself squarely in the middle with a statement: ‘Star Trek is back, we know what we want, and we are here to stay.”

Trek has been on autopilot for a long time before the new movies. From TNG onward we had variations on a theme, to the point that Enterprise, a show set two centuries before, is still so heavy in its Next Gen DNA that it was eventually crushed by it. Then you had the Kelvinverse films, and those have been going on for 9 years doing, what exactly? Set up a new universe, then do the scifi equivalent of the Lion King 1.5, then a big budget TOS episode. What makes the first of those films so frustrating is the good elements being overshadowed by a lack of confidence in the original material. Beyond knew what worked about TOS and went back to it, it embraced it while still updating what didn’t work. I know logically that 09 had to be a bit simpler to get in the normies, to set up something, but it is still tainted by being adjacent to Into Darkness. If anything the success of Beyond as a film and as a Trek film all the same makes me hate those first two even more: everyone knows Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the others, you can just tell a story that you could easily plop in anywhere in the 5-year-mission. Replace destroyed Enterprise with damaged and you can have the next episode of the week afterwards.

Discovery, in many ways, while not borrowing its formula did borrow the confidence Beyond oozed. Just tell your Star Trek story, make it good, make it compelling. If it is good people will come. And come they did: Discovery was renewed after just a couple of episodes. Is it to everyone’s liking? Well, I’ll let the Angry Fangirl get the last word in on that subject matter, but I’ll just drop the words “TNG” and “You cannot replace Kirk and Spock” and let you decide.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with the series, especially because it was weekly. Into the Forest I Go especially gave us so many conclusions and pay-offs yet also new strings to follow. It is the way a mid-season cliffhanger should work, and you can be damn sure I’ll be back in the first week of January.

And now for the State of the Union by Jessica “Angriest Fangirl There Is”:

Before I discuss Discovery, I want to acknowledge Star Trek Continues.

What in the Alpha Quadrant is that, you may be asking. It’s an amazing fan series that includes a lot of professional actors and does everything it can to emulate Star Trek: The Original Series. It picks up where TOS left off and concludes with the pieces in place for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Because there are few episodes and the makers focused strongly on story, it’s like eleven really excellent TOS episodes. The first part of the two-part finale aired the weekend before Discovery, and the finale aired a few days ago, just after the Discovery fall finale. I don’t want to say much more since I highly recommend the show to any TOS fans, but it’s a remarkable production.

A couple of weeks ago I was pretty hard on the Trek fandom due to the reaction to Discovery, but make no mistake – I grew up with Trek. I am a second generation Trekkie – my mom watched TOS as a kid and when I was little we would watch it together on SyFy channel, back when it was still called Sci-Fi.

So it’s very nice to have the last piece of Star Trek Continues wrapped around Discovery, because with all of the hostility around Discovery turning what should have been a fun experience very sour in places, it was so nice to see a wonderful fan production that reminded me why I love this universe and this fandom. Oh, and, guess what they included in the final episode? A shot of Kirk looking at a bronze version of a Discovery class starship in a lineup of bronze starship models. That made me so happy – and it was so nice of them to include. I actually squealed in happiness when I saw it. Thank you, Star Trek Continues, for giving us something new and wonderful.

And now, on to our regularly scheduled discussion of Star Trek: Discovery.

This was a very mean cliffhanger to leave us on, but I am very excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us in January.

I am a bit disappointed that the second half of this two-parter didn’t pay off the “Errand of Mercy” allusion that I assumed the first episode was setting up. That said, I loved the Pahvans – it’s always nice to have an actually alien alien species on Star Trek, and Saru’s interaction with them was very, for lack of a better word, humanizing. You really felt bad for him and the internal conflict he had about how to interact with them. I’m fascinated by what he’s said about his people and Doug Jones’ performance is simply amazing.

So I’m pretty sure Ash = Voq is all but confirmed, as I can’t see any other reason for L’Rell to take such an interest in him, and to say something like “Don’t worry, I won’t let them hurt you.”. I am assuming that Ash/Voq is like some Cardassian agents during the Occupation of Bajor – the episode “Second Skin” established that some Cardassian field operatives were surgically altered to look Bajoran, then had their minds wiped so they couldn’t give away anything about the Cardassians even if they tried, and were retrieved and re-introduced to their original identity at a later date. As such, the sexual abuse Ash remembers was probably actually a consensual relationship, but that leads me into my next point.

Whatever the truth turns out to be with Ash, the way that his trauma is handled in this episode is poignant and wonderful. I saw someone complaining that it makes Michael more of a Mary Sue to “reduce another character to a whimpering idiot to make her look better” and I almost threw my computer across the room. Ash’s PTSD doesn’t conveniently disappear in time for the action scenes like most fictional character’s, and that’s excellent. Furthermore, the show and the characters within treat his humiliation and terror after being raped completely sympathetically. No one tells him to man up, no one jokes about it, the flashback dream isn’t filmed in a titillating way (all though xenophiles everywhere were quick to rejoice at the sight of Klingon breasts, apparently). It’s treated with as much gravity as if a female prisoner had been raped by male captors, and given how most fiction and even Star Trek has winked or laughed at such things in the past this is very refreshing. (Remember that time Riker had to bone an alien to save himself and his crew?) If Ash really is Voq and the “rape” never actually happened, it’s going to be terribly ironic all things considered.

The action scenes are awesome, Kol went out with a bang, and hey, they got Georgiou’s tags back! That made me so happy, especially the little look Michael had while watching the ship of the dead explode.

And we finally got a kiss between Stamets and Culber! About damn time! I still think these two don’t have the most chemistry in the world, but this episode definitely marked an improvement in that department.  They seemed more convincingly in love, and my heart hurt for the doctor having to watch his boyfriend suffer during the extended jump sequence. And that was a cute actor allusion at the end with Stamets offering to take Culber to see La Boheme (both actors have appeared in Rent, which is a modern take on La Boheme).

So – viewers with sharper eyes than me caught that Lorca may have purposely screwed up their coordinates. That combined with his talk with Stamets earlier about the possibility of using the spore network to explore alternate dimensions and the knowledge we’re getting a mirror universe episode at some point strengthens the fan theory that Lorca is from the Mirror Universe and just wants to get home. Even if he’s not, I imagine we’re now in the mirror universe and I have a strong suspicion this show may have just become Voyager 2.0 – about the crew trying to journey home through myriad universes, which would be freaking hilarious given how many haters were complaining that this show “isn’t real Trek” because there isn’t enough exploration going on. Hopefully it’ll be actually better than Voyager.

Other possible theories: They just went to some previously unseen area of space, maybe even another galaxy, the Delta quadrant, or the Gamma quadrant (I will love the showrunners forever if they give me Weyoun’s progenitor). But really, I’m hoping for Mirror Universe or something we haven’t seen before – I think we should explore new things as much as possible in this show. There is so much ground left to cover before we start retreading things again, and of course meeting familiar aliens too early will screw up the continuity.

My overall thoughts on the series so far: I am so, so pleasantly surprised. My optimism going in was very tempered by all of the news about production issues and the bullshit way CBS hid it behind a paywall and my own nerdy reticence about things like the design change on the Klingons and the appearance of tech and uniforms. I wasn’t really sold until the third episode – I’m so glad I gave it a chance because it’s been so good. The characters are layered and complex but ultimately likeable, the plot is quick-moving, and the ideas on it are interesting and wonderfully weird. And of course, it’s a gorgeous show – this is what Trek looks like with an actual budget, but that’s secondary to everything else. It’s a nice cherry on the cake.   

Star Trek Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” Review

Discovery’s first ‘classic’ stand-alone.

Discovery has finally done it. They’ve managed to make their first ‘I want to revisit this multiple times’-episode.

Okay, that doesn’t sound as grandiose as saying they made their first classic, but here’s the thing: an episode, a movie, a book, they  can be utterly brilliant and yet I might not want to revisit it. “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” meanwhile is just 45 minutes of high concept fun and character bouncing off each other.

Let’s go to the obvious complaint people will have: this has been in Trek episodes before. Time loop that one of the crew remembers and then they slowly have to piece together what’s going on. Yes. It’s also never been done quite right. A time loop story can only work with great direction and enough material to substitute for already seen bits and pieces from previous loops. I love my Star Trek, but good pacing has never been a strong suit of it. Previous shows, when doing this concept, have always suffered under the talk-heavy nature of something like TNG or Voyager, grinding the pacing to a hold. This episode with the long title (I know, Ctrl+V…) plays it more like a chess game between Mudd and the crew, while in TNG’s example of “Cause and Effect” it’s a natural(ish) occurrence they need to tech-tech their way out of. This is much better.

Rewatching TOS from the beginning, I cannot believe how much I ignored Harry Mudd. Outside of Khan he’s the only enemy to face Kirk more than once, and for the love of Spock, he’s such a delight here in this reimagined, younger and more ruthless form. The fact that nobody died in this, at least permanently, and his large ham personality makes his presence such a delight. He’s essentially playing a game by reloading the save file. Giving the crew a person to play off of instead of technobabble makes the conclusion of sending Harry off with Stella so much more satisfying.   Continue reading “Star Trek Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” Review”

Star Trek Discovery: “Lethe” Review

An episode is recapped and The Angriest Fangirl rants about something long overdue

By Jessica Stone and Alexander Reineke

This time on Star Trek Discovery: everybody was kung fu fighting. Also Sarek’s officially the worst dad ever.

This week, I completely enjoyed myself and didn’t notice until I was 30 minutes in that only a couple of minutes were left. I never really noticed I was “missing” the theatrical nature of old Star Trek, the way words had to compensate for a lack of visuals and cinematic storytelling. For a visual medium, Trek has always been rather wordy, and so is this episode. But is a sort of hybrid creature of the approaches. It’s a personal episode focusing on the relationships between Sarek and Burnham and Lorca and Cornwall respectively. And yet, the visual and serialized nature of the show imbues Trek’s tired storytelling with new life. Characters like Tilly and Ash Tyler, Saru, Stamets, they blend into the background a bit, they get their moments to shine, they add to the material. And because we see this growth in the relationships over the course of several episodes, it is much more organic. The crew of Discovery is already more comfortable with each other than the Enterprise-D or Voyager crews were after 7 seasons, or at least I buy it much more easily so. Point is, the show isn’t forcing itself to speechifying relationships. When we see Lorca get the news of Cornwall’s abduction, he doesn’t say anything, we don’t get an evil smile. We see the phaser tugged inside his trousers, non-verbally calling back to earlier in the episode, to Cornwall saying “I don’t know you anymore”. It is left ambiguous what his motives are. And that’s good. That’s called good storytelling. It is what television is evolving into and has done so for the last two decades. We are better off for it.

So much for me. This week though, I shall give the rest of the review over to Jessica “The Angriest Fangirl There Is” and her take on Discovery and fandom:

 

So I really enjoyed this episode. I am not 100% sure I am on board with the way Michael’s past has been retconned into Spock’s family, but it does make logical sense – it always struck me as odd that a Vulcan who married a human and served as an ambassador for Starfleet was so pissed off his son chose Starfleet over the Vulcan expeditionary force. But I can’t shake the feeling it seems like something I would read in a fanfic – though I suppose at this point all of Star Trek is basically fanfic, like all longrunning franchises.

Also I’ve completely gotten over my hatred for James Frain left over from when he played Theo Gallavan on Gotham. He does a wonderful job as Sarek, though not quite clearing the very high bar set by the magnificent Mark Leonard. Vulcan acting is very difficult and I’m impressed that he’s done it so well.

Tilly continues to grow on me. She irritated me at first but now I like her quite a bit, and by the end of the season I expect I’ll be ready to fight anyone that messes with her.

I am very onboard with the Ash Tyler = Voq fan theory. It’s too weird that Voq has just disappeared from the story, and that we’ve established more than once that Lorca has a pet tribble. I’m almost worried the set-up is too obvious.

I would like to say more about the episode, but something else has been weighing on my mind for a while, and today it was really boiling up in me.

I am … insanely disappointed in my fellow Trekkies. To put it very mildly.

In the extraordinarily unlikely event any cast members read this post, I am so sorry. I am enjoying Discovery so far, and even if I weren’t it wouldn’t be your fault. You’re all doing a wonderful job. Sonequa Martin-Green, thank you for your wonderfully nuanced portrayal of Michael, and I’m sorry that assholes, utter assholes, have heaped racist and sexist abuse on you, or at “best” hated you because your character had the audacity to start off making a big mistake that set her on a redemption arc and because your performance is subtle. Like, how dare you convey the character’s internal conflicts through facial reactions instead of long speeches? Even though that’s probably also down to how it was written? I don’t understand people. Jason Isaacs, God bless you sir for not only doing a wonderful job as the enigmatic and probably evil, at the very least very underhanded Lorca but daring to engage with the Twitter trolls most of us would understandably ignore and being absolutely hilarious about doing this. I gather from these Tweets that Trek has been important to you since you were smol (like many of us) and you are just as exhausted and fed up with these people as I am, probably moreso since I’m just a fan and you actually worked on it. I am so sorry that you have to deal with assholes saying you’re just in it for the money and calling you ugly names constantly.

Joe Menosky, sir, I am so sorry that a bunch of Trekkies are splooging over Brannon Bragga and other Trek writers contributing to Orville but ignoring your contributions to this show. Your episodes of nineties-era Trek were some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and wonderfully weird, and your hand is very evident in this show. I’m fascinated to see where it’s going and have enjoyed the ride so far.

Eugene Roddenberry, I am so sorry that a bunch of entitled, myopic idiots think that they knew what your dad would have wanted more than you.

And now that I’m done being nice and starting with the apologies to all the innocent parties involved in this, I am just going to say I am mad as fuck. And yeah I’m going to say “fuck” a lot, and some other choice swears. Fuck fuck fuck fuck. Get over it. It is simply mind blowing to see the same people who gleefully announced they were watching a show that opened with an alien ejaculating on a woman with their children clutching their pearls over two soft f-bombs. I have heard of Americans having weird priorities about what is offensive before, but this takes the fucking cake.

I take back everything nice I have ever said about Trekkies as a fandom. I have seen the most mind-bogglingly hateful behavior over this show. Not just on the part of those who hate it, but it sure seems skewed in that direction (then again I’m not an unbiased observer of this conflict). We are making the collective Star Wars fan bawl fest over how George Lucas raped their childhood look good.

To be clear I am not saying you have to like the show. If you know anything about me, you know I am the last person to ever say you have to like something just because it has an official stamp on it. Sometimes the official product is crap. It’s fine to say that. Criticism is good. Even though I am enjoying Discovery my contributions to these recaps, you will notice, are not entirely positive.

But for the love of God. Stop being a jerk about it.

I’ve been told I don’t really like Star Trek if I like this show. Well shit, guess I should just delete the two novel-length Star Trek fanfics I’ve already written almost a hundred pages for combined and throw out the cute Star Trek plushies my mom got me for Christmas then. I got banned from a Star Trek discussion group … well I deserved it because I was an ass, but in my defense I was standing up for a guy who was going to be banned just because he shared links indicating that Discovery is doing well in streaming numbers. The admin called him a liar when he said that it was, then threatened to ban him when he posted a link proving it and asked for counter-proof if the admin had it. Incidentally, this admin got really mad at me for saying “fuck” while pushing Orville on us (the guy who he was arguing with likes both shows but that didn’t even sink in for this dingus), in case you thought I was making it up about people’s weird hypocrisy about those shows. A previously popular Trek reviewer had people unsubscribe from him and call him an asshole just because he likes Discovery, and probably the most famous Trek reviewer of all, Chuck Sonnenburg, hasn’t stated anything about Discovery on his Twitter or anywhere else probably for fear of a similar backlash whether he loves it, hates it, or probably especially if he finds it “okay.” That is sad as fuck that probably the biggest Trekkie ever can’t state his opinions on a show for fear of backlash.

If this was just happening in neutral spaces, like general discussion groups and channels, that would be fine, but the people who dislike it are actively seeking out any mention of the show online to complain about it. The pro-Discovery fan groups on Facebook are harder to get into than Yale presumably in response to trolling. Even at my most virulent hatred of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I didn’t do that. That’s insane, and I haven’t seen that level of stupidity and hate boner-having since Twilight was out, and at least Twilight actually was omnipresent and being pushed at teens by their peers and sometimes even by teachers. It was in the school library and teachers would play the movies in class. Discovery is as easy to avoid as not subscribing to CBS All-Access and not pirating it – I haven’t even seen it advertised that much and I’m someone who’s actively watching it. Then again I use ad-blocker, maybe it’s on a lot of rolling ads? Even if it is, Jesus Christ this is so much. And it’s not just the location and the volume of the complaints, it’s the tone and the virulence. If you like it, you’re a fake fan and never loved Star Trek. It’s ruining the franchise that was dormant for twenty years. It’s “SJW bullshit” (because the fact the main character is a black woman has been important all of zero times, but she exists therefore SJW bullshit). It’s shitting on the actors who didn’t even take part in the direction of the script and anyone who likes it.

I wonder how lifelong Trekkie and more specifically Niner Seth MacFarlane feels about so many of his fans using his show to shit on actual Star Trek? I have no idea, as I’ve never been a fan, but I know I would feel really shitty about that. Especially since a lot of these complaints echo the bitching people did about DS9 (it’s too dark, it’s too cynical, it goes against Gene’s vision that we apparently know better than his own flesh and blood) and since Seth likes DS9 I doubt very seriously he shares those complaints. Idk, maybe he hates  Discovery and this is an amazing ego boost. I do know that constantly having Orville shoved in my face by assholes has killed any meager interest I might have ever had in it. Pro tip: Nothing makes someone want to watch a thing less than having it forced down their throat until they have to gag it out to avoid choking to death.

And I don’t want to spend too much time on this because it’s not the opinions themselves that bother me but the aggression with which they are expressed, but a lot of the complaints are incredibly unfounded. “Weak characters?” We’ve already had more character development than TNG did in its first two seasons. “It’s too dark.” They said that about DS9, dark =/= bad or even cynical. I do not believe Discovery is cynical – I believe it is very optimistic despite the tone. Michael and other Starfleet officers except Lorca are very principled, compassionate, and ingenuitive. They just have the misfortune of serving under one of the asshole captains we ran into all the damn time on the other shows but were never a challenge to Gene’s vision until they were a regular cast member, even if nothing about how he is portrayed indicates he’s anything else.. A lot of people are saying they’ll give up on the show if Lorca isn’t Section 31, and there’s a strong possibility he is but I’m gonna just bastardize a Harry Potter quote (that’s what it’s come to) here: The galaxy isn’t divided into good people and Section 31.  “It’s against Gene’s vision.” Again, they said that about DS9, and his son is an executive producer, and Gene was not solely responsible for everything we love about Star Trek as much as we try to boil the franchise’s legacy down to one man. But if you think I’m full of shit and the show still sucks, that’s fucking fine. But don’t you dare pull this gate keeping bullying shit.

I just … am so tired. I am exhausted. I am disappointed. And I am angry. I finally have something geeky to be excited about and the open hostility and divisiveness around it has put such a damper on it. If I have ever been rude to you about something you like, if I ever rained on your parade, and I know that I have, and I haven’t already apologized, just tell me, and I will personally. Because I am – I am sorry if I have ever been a tenth of the asshole these people are.

I am tired of the entitlement and bullying and the gatekeeping and close-mindedness. I am very tired of geek culture in general.Just because we were bullied as kids doesn’t mean we have the right to turn around and be hateful to each other. We don’t get to decide who’s a “real fan” and I hate that term whether it’s someone saying only true fans like Discovery or only fake fans would like it. And for the love of God, we have to acknowledge that these franchises need to breathe, they need to change and grow or else they will die. That doesn’t mean you have to like everything that is done with a franchise, sometimes it really will be an awful decision, but there’s no use crying over the very fact it’s changing!

Sometimes, I wish I was like my dad and didn’t know a Millennium Falcon from an Enterprise, because I’d probably be happier that way. Which I’m pretty sure is the opposite of the way fiction is supposed to make you feel, but it’s where I am today and I can’t put into words how much that saddens me. Especially since, once upon a time, Trek was what made me remember how much I loved being a geek. Man, fuck me for believing in this fandom, I ought to know better by now.      

Random Ramblings: The Cons of Self-Publishing & Self-Promotion

Self-Publishing is a great thing. You have limitless creative freedom, with no editor or marketing people telling you how long your stories have to be. I’ve been enjoying it immensely. Admittedly though, there is one major downside: self-promotion.

We’re taught early on that we shouldn’t really self-promote. That’s something show-offy, it’s not someone does that has confidence in their work, someone trying to hide the flaws in ads. I used to think along these lines. Once you start self-publishing though, you learn quickly that this is the exact wrong way to actually get anywhere. You are on your own, and that means you need to rely on social media and other websites to get the word out. Ask your friends, ask your family, post wherever, whenever.

Take for instance the sub-reddit “Wrote a Book”:

https://www.reddit.com/r/wroteabook/comments/77h4z8/novel_historians_crusade_science_fiction/

That one allows you to just post a link and promote your book. But if you scroll down the site, you are once again reminded why you might not want it. Do you want to be associated with the dozenth romance novel this week? If you want to exist outside traditional publishing I would say: yes. In an ideal world all self-publishing authors would work together, trying to get the word out over each other’s books, but the world isn’t really perfect. For one, people still scoff at ebooks priced higher than $0.99, as if a cup of lukewarm coffee for “Janothizanlafaeiohsf” from Starbucks is a better value proposition.

So by all means: promote your books, price them higher than $0.99. The pricing is an important part of self-publishing, I think. It gives a statement to the world: I am confident in this book. Also I paid an artist for the cover and need my expenses covered.

Seriously though: self-promotion is a hurdle we need to get over. I need to get over. Here goes…

Star Trek Discovery: “Choose Your Pain” Review – An Ode to the F-Bomb

To Boldly Fucking Go

It is official: Trek has entered the age of the modern tv show. F-Bombs and all.

This is not to be meant disparagingly. Quite the opposite. It just occurred to me why Discovery continues to feel slightly off to me: the character feel tangible. They feel human. Alive. It’s something the best of Trek has in common: the TOS characters and DS9 crew (and latter day Enterprise, but we apparently aren’t allowed to mention them…). There is an easiness through which the actors can slip into their characters, how much they are at ease with living in the future. The original crew did it really well, as did DS9. They were relatable. They got angry, they loved, they mourned, they laughed. And now they curse. I’m not saying the F-Bombs were absolutely necessary to the dialogue, but as anyone who knows me, I can swear like a fucking sailor. People love to swear and the fact that Trek has never gotten away with it so far made the universe so sanitized. Though at least that’s better than coming up with ersatz-curses like ‘drell’, ‘frak’ and ‘kree’.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Discovery. I still like the show. Lorca continues to impress me as a character, as does Saru, who form an effective triumvirate with Burnham. Stamets is also growing on me, clearly written as a jerk with a heart of gold and, dare I say it, Sheldon Cooper done right. Also Robert April is now canon. Yippie! …That’s pretty much it for this week.. Is there more to say?

Okay, yeah: The episodes have now established a routine: issue of the week and driving the main story arc forward. Much like pretty much every serialized show out there, there is the issue that we won’t see what is going to happen until all the episodes have aired. Some might argue that this is why Netflix should have insisted on airing everything at the same time. And while that would have been nice to shut up a lot of the detractors, since I’m now pretty sure where the series will be heading, it would have also ruined the viewing experience.

Ever since Netflix brought out its first originals, binging has become the norm for television viewing. I’ve argued in a past article that it has ruined many a good show for me. For the next few months I will be able to watch an episode Monday morning and then go on Facebook and talk to friends and acquaintances about how the show will turn out. This is television for me. It’s a communal serialized adventure we can all engage with, speculate with. Binging kinda ruined that for all of us. I am glad that we can rediscover this now, no pun intended.  

And now for word or two from Jessica “The Angriest Fangirl” and Chris “The American”.

Jessica’s thoughts:

Well we finally had onscreen confirmation of our first gay couple – and got slammed with the But Not Too Gays, darn. Would have really loved it if they had given each other just a quick peck on the cheek or something.

I actually cried in happiness when they set free the tardigrade. And earlier out of sadness when it lost all it’s water and curled up in a ball. Okay, Acting Ensign Water Bear, join tiny non-anthropomorphic robots, non sentient holograms, amorphous blobs of goo and murderous lava monsters in the ever growing list of esoteric things Star Trek has made me weep over. Continue reading “Star Trek Discovery: “Choose Your Pain” Review – An Ode to the F-Bomb”

Star Trek Discovery: The Butcher’ Knife Cares Not For the Lamb’s Cry Review

The writer’s pen cares not for the lack of content in lieu of the sweet ad revenue.

Star Trek Discovery continues to excel at being all around good television.

Oh wait, you wanted more? Look, it’s just hard recapping a serialized show every single week. One-and-done episodes are easy. You have a problem that’s set up, explored, then resolved. Serialized storytelling is a different tool in the belt and has some great advantages. In the case of Discovery they are brilliant at building mystery and character. Not to mention the world building and details we receive. Many of the characters on Discovery already have more character traits revealed and explored than most characters on Enterprise, Voyager, and TNG combined. Though that’s not saying much… point is the main problem is that the big picture is only revealed over the course of the entire season. And they are subtle about this. This isn’t Captain Picard going “oh wait, it’s hard to watch and do nothing when you know the people dying” . Gee whiz, thanks, Captain Obvious! Discovery values its subtext over text as much shows do these days and as such might rub people the wrong way who are used to the classic Trek model of approaching the franchise from a theater and literature perspective of telling more than showing rather than filmic. Considering it’s a visual medium I actually prefer the latter. Big shock.

In many ways these weekly recaps are only good for two things: getting a chance to talk about the meta regarding the franchise and reception, and getting those sweet, sweet clicks. Guess why I’m gonna be back next week?!

 

In the meantime: Since she couldn’t join us in the previous recaps, here’s Jessica aka “The Angriest Fangirl” with her thoughts:    Continue reading “Star Trek Discovery: The Butcher’ Knife Cares Not For the Lamb’s Cry Review”