The first season of Star Trek: Discovery has just concluded and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. The only other first season of a Star Trek series that has even come close to being this good was that of Enterprise.
I have heard a number of people describe Discovery as “good science fiction but not good Star Trek.” I would like to take issue with this. I recently watched all of the original series and the animated series and am currently going through Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. My observation is that there is not one thing that makes it “Star Trek.” And if we use the original series as the measure, the first season was good, the second season really good and the third season really bad.
The rest of my post here will include spoilers, so if you have not watched Discovery and if you intend to, you might want to move from this post to Why I Love Star Trek: Discovery.
The series, more than being about the USS Discovery or even the captain of the ship, is really about the character Michael Burnham. Michael, as a young girl, was brought into the family of Sarek, the father of Spock. We follow her adventures, about ten years before the Enterprise’s five year mission under Kirk.
Michael Burnham, although fully human, has Vulcan training and this makes her a formidable leader. She also shares a special mental link with Sarek.
Michael was charged with mutiny, which technically she was guilty of. But she was brought on board the Discovery to help in the war with the Klingons, a war she was involved in starting.
Discovery becomes key to the Federation’s war with the Klingon Empire, as they have a means of travelling far more sophisticated than traditional warp drive.
Much of the season is about this war and it often reminded my of Battlestar Galactica and the war against the Cylons.
Familiar Star Trek characters such as Harry Mudd are reintroduced in some pretty fresh ways. I hated Mudd in the original series but this darker version was quite interesting.
One of the neat storylines that I didn’t see coming was their accidental journey to an alternate universe. This was something introduced in the original series and it was one of my favourite episodes of the original series. This universe has been revisited by a number of Star Trek series.
I quite enjoyed this storyline and there were plenty of twists and turns. One that was a surprise to me was the revelation that the captain of the Discovery was actually from that alternate universe and it had always been his plan to return.
Another important story line was that of Ash Tyler. Tyler was a Starfleet officer who had been captured by the Klingons. The fear for some time was that he was suffering from PTSD, but it was actually much darker. Tyler had actually been turned into a Klingon, including receiving the memories and personality of an important Klingon. I suspect that this is going to be used to help explain the human appearance of some Klingons in the original series.
The final episode of Discovery was amazing. The ending was a cliffhanger that is going to make the break before the second season very difficult to endure. On their way back to Vulcan, they receive a distress call from a starship. It ends up that it is the USS Enterprise under the command of Christopher Pike.
I thought Discovery was excellent space opera. It was so good with well thought out stories and plenty of battle scenes. It always kept me guessing but had a goal toward which the stories were leading.
I’m not all that worried with how this fits with other Star Trek series. There have been ties, especially with Enterprise.
If you enjoy Star Trek or science fiction in general, I encourage you to give Discovery a try.