Hatton here with this week’s blog that was supposed to be last week’s, but I have lost all cohesion and concept of the passage of time. Thanks Rob for picking up my dumb dumb slack.
Anyway – I am a Trek person. If you love all sci-fi equally, go you, but if I had to choose between watching a lightsaber or a phaser, I’m going to choose a phaser every time. That said, not all Trek has been created equally, and in recent years there has been a surprising number of new shows that wear the Trek name. Thankfully these shows have disregarded the Abrams version of Trek entirely and have rested solely on the ‘prime timeline’ for lack of a term.
So what are my thoughts on these new Treks? I thought I’d give my pros and my cons this week.
Star Trek: Discovery – Starting in a world before the original series, with nods to original Captain Pike, Tribbles, and Spock, we follow Michael Burnham who was the canonically inserted adoptive sister of Spock.
The good here is that this show has the heart of Trek right. The characters grow and learn lessons, they are humans who are fighting for the Prime Directive. Also, given this show is being produced now, the morality of Trek is updated along with it featuring women, people of color, non-binary, lgbtq all in the chain of command with absolutely no fanfare. There are moments of real tearjerking beauty in Discovery, and I look forward to every season.
The bad though… the bad is its main character, Michael Burnham. Not the actress, as Sonequa Martin-Green is excellent, but the character. Her primary flaw is that she isn’t perfect enough to compete with her near god-like Spock, so she is always fighting for relevancy when compared to him. That concept makes her too good at near everything else, and as the show goes on she seems to somehow get smarter than people at the height of their profession. Answering medical questions for doctors and history questions for anthropologists… she’s just too much at times.
Star Trek: Picard – The final adventures of my favorite captain, Picard is an interesting mix of nostalgia and telling stories outside of the standard ‘captain and his crew’ world that most shows lean into. I have only taken in the first season, but within we learn what’s happened to Data, Riker, Troi, Seven of Nine, and I have no doubt that there is more to come in the next Season. It clearly loves the source material and pays homage in every inch of it.
The bad is mostly plot oriented. It’s story, where fun and intended to take us to various corners of the universe and explore the aftereffects of what Picard went through in Next Generation, the big season plot would have largely never been a concern if not for the heroes getting involved. There is a season finale issue as well that others may have a problem with, but I’ll leave that for the forum-arguers.
Lastly – we have the cartoons. Lower Decks and Prodigy. Decks is a Family Guy style comedy and Prodigy is a CGI animated kid-friendly adventure. Both have their merits and their love of Trek on their sleeve. (Prodigy, notably features show friend Bonnie Gordon as the ship computer). Lower Decks makes fun of the things we love, but holds onto a lot of Trek’s heart, and Prodigy is a big adventure that, due to its CGI, sometimes feels less Star Trek and more Reboot… both though are enjoyable as hell.
So, what’s your favorite current Trek? Are you looking forward to Strange New Worlds? Sound off in the usual places. Hatton out.