Cape Town - It's been 12 years since Star Trek has been on the small screen. A lot of my childhood was spent among the stars on the USS Enterprise, USS Voyager and on Deep Space Nine. So I was quite excited when Star Trek: Discovery was announced and my favourite, Jason Isaacs (aka Lucius Malfoy) was at the helm of the USS Discovery. I mean, is it Christmas already?!
Even though Discovery is the latest installation of the Star Trek saga, chronologically it occurs about 10 years before the original series that saw Captain Kirk and Spock going on adventures in deep space.
The story centres around Michael Burnham, a human girl raised as Vulcan by Spock's father Sarek, who joins Starfleet and ultimately joins the USS Discovery - a scientific vessel turned reluctant warship - in the war against the united Klingon houses.
Discovery departs from the episodic format of it's predecessors where each episode's storyline is concluded at the end of it's 40 minutes. This latest iteration of Star Trek has an overarching plot with the Klingon War, Captain Lorca's secretive demeanour (what's this guy's deal?) and Michael Burnham's redemption. In other words, you can't just watch a random episode.
Initially I was not a fan of the new (old?) uniforms. Where were my red shirts at? Another small criticism would be that sometimes the show tends to tell rather than show plot points. But I soon overlooked this because overall this show is amazing.
Michael Burnham is not an easy character to like and she seems like a watered down version of Spock, who despite his Vulcan tendencies creeps into your heart (RIP Leonard Nimoy). But you do find yourself rooting for her early on in the game. Captain Lorca is a strange one for me. It's not often that you don't immediately trust a Starfleet captain but something is up with this guy that I can't quite put my finger on. I don't think he's a baddie but he's got some skeletons for sure.
My favourite character is probably science officer Lieutenant Paul Stamets. Anthony Rapp plays the no-nonsense chief engineer who has no problem standing up to the captain when he makes ludicrous requests. He's also Star Trek's first openly gay character. Discovery takes place in the year 2256, a time in human history when people aren't defined by their sexuality. So much so that his sexuality isn't even mentioned up front.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Aaron Harberts had this to say about Lt Stamets, “what’s fascinating about the character is that when we meet him we don’t know who or what he is. He’s so super specific, he’s persnickety and difficult and brilliant, and he isn’t going to give an inch and he has very strong feelings about why he’s on the Discovery. We wanted to roll out that character’s sexuality the way people would roll out their sexuality in life.”
Star Trek has always been progressive, especially in terms of female characters but this is the first show that has such a diverse cast. In previous shows people of colour have been sprinkles here and there but the mix of races is quite balanced on the USS Discovery.
The show is entertaining from start to finish, leaving you wanting more when the end credits roll. Also, that little Star Trek jingle at the end of the opening sequence hits you right in the nostalgic feels.
The series is available on Netflix.
(Photos: Netflix/Jan Thijs)