I was, admittedly, a little disappointed when Bryan Fuller left the DSC team. He was, by all accounts, the creative driver of the show and the one who would push it from production to delivery. He was the only voice in the media explaining just how different Star Trek Discovery would be and how he wanted it to get back to the roots of what Star Trek is all about; a brighter future where we can all work together.
And then Bryan Fuller left. At first he cited scheduling conflicts with his other projects, namely American Gods, but then revelations started to emerge that included clashes with the CBS team with regards to delivery dates and production costs. Bryan Fuller may be gone, but the show still has Alex Kurtzman, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts at the helm and these guys know what they are doing. Star Trek is bigger than Bryan Fuller and will steam ahead, with thanks to his creative input in the initial stages.
“Ultimately, with my responsibilities elsewhere, I could not do what CBS needed to have done in the time they needed it done for Star Trek. It felt like it was best for me to focus on landing the plane with American Gods and making sure that was delivered in as elegant and sophisticated a fashion as I could possibly do. I’m not involved in production, or postproduction, so I can only give them the material I’ve given them and hope that it is helpful for them. I’m curious to see what they do with it.”
The cast looks really good. We have known actors like Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) and Sonequa Martin-Green (Walking Dead), mixed with unknown actors who promise much.
To get back to what made Star Trek so loved, we have to accept that diversity was a huge part of The Original Series. Kirk may have been a brash, all-American hero, but his team was as diverse as any seen on television. It taught us that in the future, we will look back our mistakes and intolerances with embarrassment. The future will be a place where all races, species and sexes will be truly equal and can achieve greatness together.
Cast announcements have been coming thick and fast, and we can start to get a picture of what the crew might look like, although some are likely to be wearing a few prosthetic ears or Andorian antennae.
Brits always make good captains. Whilst Jean-Luc Picard might have been born in France, the actor behind (arguably) the best Star Trek captain, Patrick Stewart, was born in Yorkshire, England. Captain Picard was cool, calm and calculated, but wasn’t afraid of physicality when it was ultimately necessary. He inspired his crew to achieve more and led them with distinction.
Even though the Discovery is set to be shot from the perspective of the first officer, and Captain Lorca will not be the main character as other captains have been, it’s always nice to have a calm and confident Brit in charge of proceedings. At least that’s what I imagine Jason Isaacs will bring to the role of Captain Lorca on the USS Discovery.
We don’t want a temporal cold war. We don’t want giant sets with millions of flashing lights and explosions everywhere. We don’t want JJ Abrams anywhere near the set. We don’t want the captain and the helmsman travelling at warp 10, devolving and then mating. We don’t want Star Wars.
It’s not too much to ask is it? The production team behind Star Trek Discovery should know what works for fans. It isn’t all about the huge budget and explosions, although a little of both often help. We want something that is real, gritty but not over-the-top, something with passion and something that inspires us at the end to want more. We want something that makes us remember the episodes for personal reasons, and we want the heroes to overcome adversity in special ways. At least that’s what I want.
My favourite Star Trek episode? ENT, Episode 2×21 – The Breach
I loved this episode because it was, to me, what Star Trek is all about. Dr Phlox meets a patient in desperate need of medical attention, who is a former enemy of his race. The patient will die if he doesn’t get treatment, but refuses to take it from his sworn enemy. Phlox would let him die at first, but his sense of right and wrong gets the better of him and he saves the patient. They then begin the healing process between their species. That’s it in a nutshell anyway, its actually a lot more poetic and meaningful than I can summarize in a few sentences.
I think Star Trek Discovery is an Alamo series; if it fails, and a lot of people already think it will, then the franchise is pretty much over. As much as it pains me to say that, and as much as I love the show, the concept and the idealism, we haven’t had anything universally liked for a very long time.
The latest films didn’t work and alienated core audiences, whilst completely failing to create new ones. I loved Enterprise but it was fundamentally flawed and wasn’t well received across the board.
I liked the TNG movies, especially First Contact, but they didn’t do particularly well financially. The Original Series meant so much to so many people, but that show finished in 1969 and even as a huge Star Trek fan (TNG onwards), I can’t bring myself to watch it, given the sheer volume of content I have available at the click of a button. Star Trek Discovery has a hell of a job on it’s hands.