Star Trek Discovery: Pointless in Space

Source: added 15th Jan 2021

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The thirteen episodes of the third season of Star Trek Discovery have been completely available on Netflix since January. Even in its current season, the series can shine with outstanding actors, has breathtaking special effects and benefits from competent directors. Unfortunately, all of this is wasted effort without good scripts – and with good scripts the makers of the series cannot serve in the third season either. And so Discovery remains a series that doesn’t deserve the label “Star Trek”, but is also not grown up enough to stand on its own two feet. This is followed by a damage report from a die-hard Trekkie.

Note: This review contains significant spoilers for all three seasons of Star Trek Discovery.

It’s not uncommon for the first season of a Star Trek series not to be the best. The actors and scriptwriters first have to find each other and the producers usually make adjustments in the second season, based on the feedback from the fans. That’s one reason why many of the original skeptics on Discovery benevolently overlooked a lot of the quirks of the series’ first season. The show had yet to find itself and its place in the pantheon of the Star Trek universe. In the middle of the second season it looked briefly as if the makers would get the curve to a real Star Trek series. Captain Pike, Talos IV, number one – suddenly a lot went together. Unfortunately, the series gambled away this Trek capital with the nonsensical finale of the second season. Here it became clear: these people don’t actually want to do a Star Trek series. They like Star Wars, occult mysteries and exaggerated drama much better than the somewhat clinical but also hopeful sci-fi that Trek fans love so much.

Unused opportunity Well, the Discovery 900 took the leap into the years Future – however constructed the reasons and the technical circumstances for its implementation may have been – at least as if made. The makers of the Discovery and their crew would have been free of any story elements in the 32. Century now had a completely free hand. Mushroom warp, components floating around the ship, universal transporters, holograms without a holodeck, a bottomless pool of water on the planet Trill, telekinesis – who cares when you are so far in the future anyway that there are no reference points to the established star Trek universe there is more. And after the pilot of the season it looked like that was exactly the plan. But then the makers of the series lose the thread again.

The third season of Star Trek Discovery could also be a Star Wars Series. From the ship and costume design to the storylines, everything fits. But somehow you have to justify that the Star Trek fans are supposed to be watching. And so characters in the third season keep talking about what the United Federation of Planets stands for or why they are really, honestly, really now, like Starfleet officers. But that’s exactly what they don’t do. First of all Michael Burnham, who repeatedly emphasizes how important the Federation is to her and how great Starfleet is, but cannot obey the simplest command. Every time the captain wants to do something that Michael doesn’t like, she just doesn’t do it. How does that fit in with Picard and Janeway’s Starfleet? Not even Sisko or even the legendary lax Captain Kirk risk a court martial as often as Burnham.

Of course, it’s a Star Trek tradition to disobey orders or interpret them creatively – especially the First Directive – but so far the scriptwriters have always gotten the curve in the end and explained reasonably credibly why the officer in question was not thrown straight out of the fleet. Not so with Discovery. Almost all orders are disregarded here: the first officer, the ship’s doctor, the captain, and even the commander-in-chief of the fleet do not follow his own instructions. But hey, we are Starfleet! Did we mention we’re all super awesome Starfleet officers? In Starfleet. It belongs to the United Federation of Planets.

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