Star Trek: Discovery, starring Sonequa Martin Green, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif & Anthony Rapp.
Right up top, it’s getting a 15 episode order instead of 13. That’s good. That cast. Also very good.
The thing that’s bugged me since they first announced we’re going to barely pre-Kirk era Starfleet, is that we haven’t had a Trek take place in the in-universe future since 2002, when Nemesis came out. Everything since, from Enterprise, to Kelvin-verse (official name for the Abrams films), and now back to Trek-prime with Discovery is all prequel based. For a series, a franchise, that was so forward focused, so progressive, it’s a difficult pill to swallow seeing it so regressive. DS9 and Voyager handed the franchise the Gamma and Delta quadrants to explore, Voyager gave us the 29th century’s Temporal Integrity Commission to to explore, basically handing us 400 years worth of space exploration left untouched. Think about everything that’s happened since 1617. All the discoveries and exploration that was done. And we keep getting, “Yeah, Ferdinand Magellan was awesome, so was this other guy who was Magellan adjacent. By the way, we eventually go to the moon, but how ’bout that Magellan guy, huh?! HUH?! Sailing and shit.”
Similar to last week’s entry regarding The X-Files and my trip down memory lane, this is about another revisit of my youth, this time in the form of high nerdery, the wonderful mythos that is Star Trek.
I originally conceived the idea of going on a Star Trek binge and watching all the TV Shows and Movies in as short a time span as possible way back when I was unemployed and had literally nothing else to do (aside from job hunting). Disregarding the animated series, if you were to watch every episode of every series, and every movie, in the in-universe chronological order (Enterprise through Deep Space 9), I figured it would take roughly 22.8 days of non-stop viewing. I wouldn’t be able to do that then, nor now, but it was an idea I kicked around, but never fulfilled.
Then a few months ago the wonderful documentary The Captains showed up in my Netflix recommendations, I watched it, and decided to get started on watching Star Trek. Though I broke from the original idea by starting with The Next Generation, instead of Enterprise. The titles and images are clickable links to the Netflix stream.
The pop-cultural significance of this piece of film should not go unnoticed at all. It’s nothing fancy. Just the Original Series Captain, Kirk, William Shatner, taking a film crew and discussing Star Trek, one of the biggest franchises in history, with all of the other Trek Captains – TNG‘s Picard (Patrick Stewart), DS9‘s Sisko (Avery Brooks); Voyager‘s Janeway (Kate Mulgrew); Enterprise‘s Archer (Scott Bakula); and new, young Kirk from the reboot movie, Chris Pine.
It’s truly fascinating to see these 6 people together on film, though unfortunately not all at the same time. You get a behind the curtain look at what it was like (for most of them, excluding Shatner, obviously) to enter this phenomenon of a TV/Movie series, coming from their varied backgrounds, and how it impacted their careers. It’s a fun sit-down and chat style interview between director Shatner and his 5 successors (or, predecessor, technically, in Bakula’s case) to the Captain’s Chair. Shatner does focus on himself quite a bit, as he tends to do, and is more than allowed to do. As someone who grew up on Trek, I watched from beginning to end with eager ears to hear the charming stories each would tell from their time in Starfleet.
And then there’s of course what led me directly to that: the shows. I grew up on first The Next Generation, moving straight into DS9 and Voyager. I of course caught reruns of The Original Series back when SyFy was Sci-Fi, and actually showed Sci-Fi. I never watched Enterprise, which is surprising to even me considering I’m a big fan of both Star Trek and Bakula’s previous series, Quantum Leap. But I’ve recently started reliving my time with TNG, even tweeting about (#RelivingTNG). I finally got over the Tasha Yar/Beardless Riker hump and I’m at the point where it’s starting to get good. I’m probably going to keep pushing through TNG, taking each series at a time, and if you want to check out Star Trek, either again, or for the first time, do it.