Star Trek Discovery Episodes 1 & 2 review

I’m aware that it’s been ages since my last post on here so I’m trying to rectify that now. I thought I’d write a few words about the new Star Trek Discovery TV show.

I’ve been following production of this show for some time now. If memory serves it had been announced in the later part of 2015 with an on air date of January 2017. Well, January came and went and it’s been a long wait until now.

So a bit of background about the show. Discovery is set in the 2250s, around about a decade before Kirk and Spock’s adventures on the original Enterprise, and actually around about the same time period as that shown in the original pilot The Cage which featured Captain Pike and a younger Spock on the Enterprise.

Saru, Burnham and Georgiou on the giant bridge of the USS Shenzhou


The first two episodes of Discovery set up some of the background of the season’s main story arc. We meet Michelle Yeoh’s Captain Georgiou and Sonequa Martin-Green’s first officer Michael Burnham of the USS Shenzhou. They’re doing a bit of exploring at the edge of Federation space and encounter an “object of unknown origin”. This turns out to be a Klingon artefact and soon the Shenzhou is surrounded by Klingon ships. It turns out there’s a Klingon leader who wants to reunite the 24 Klingon houses and the Federation will make a convenient adversary.

Without giving too much away the Federation ships will get a bloody nose and Burnham will also suffer a persona loss. Episode 2 ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger.

In terms of the story there were a few moments, especially in episode 1, where I was raising a metaphorical Vulcan eyebrow quizzically. For example we are informed that the Vulcans eventually established peaceful relations with the Klingons by learning to fire first. Really? I suppose there’s a certain logic to it, but still…

It’s hard to judge the characters too much at this point. Michelle Yeoh does a perfectly good job as Captain Georgiou although I hope it’s not too much of a spoiler to say I don’t think we will be seeing much more of her in future episodes…

Martin-Green’s Burnham is the main character and makes some surprisingly non-Starfleet decisions. I mean doing a Vulcan neck pinch on members of your crew and trying to mutiny are not in the usual Starfleet playbook. A bit of a non-conformist is Burnham. But she has a very interesting backstory being the survivor of a Klingon attack on a human/Vulcan colony and being raised by none other than Sarek, father of Spock.

The other bridge personnel are not really established. I suppose the reason being that the regular cast members will be the crew of the Discovery and we’ll meet them next week.

The USS Shenzhou

There is one exception to this and that is the alien science officer Saru played by Doug Jones. I liked Saru very much both in terms of the brilliant make-up plus the engaging performance from Jones. I do hope he’s a regular character in the show.

Design wise I like what I see more or less. The exterior of the Shenzhou is particularly nice. It’s perhaps too sleek a ship for the mid 23rd century but the underslung nacelles put me in mind of the USS Reliant from The Wrath of Khan which is perhaps my favourite Star Trek ship.

Interiors do suffer from Giant Bridge Syndrome. So far we’ve just seen the Shenzhou bridge. I wonder what the Discovery bridge will be like? (Prediction: Probably really big.)

Uniforms are nifty but quite different from the ones we have seen before.

Pleasingly the sound effects have been carried over from the original series so the doors swish and there are the suitable background bridge sounds effects.

One departure is the use of holograms for inter-ship communication rather than view screens as before. But the holograms are done well and interactively so I will forgive this.

I don’t have much of an opinion on the Discovery itself for the very good reason that it hasn’t been in the show yet, other than in the opening credits.

Speaking of the credits I’m not sure yet if they will grow on me. But I do like that they bothered with opening credits in this age of jumping right into a show, plus it’s nice to see the animations of the classic phaser gun and communicators appearing.

No opinion on the theme music yet as it’s a bit vanilla.

New look Klingon

The Klingons have had a complete redesign in terms of make-up and costume. It’s a brave thing to do and I guess this show is beting made enough years on from the others that they feel they can make a clean break visually. About the only recognisable element left is the use of the Klingon language and interestingly they have the Klingon characters talking in Klingon throughout with subtitles in English. They only speak English when speaking to the captains of Federation ships.

So overall this was good pair of opening episodes. Episode 1 had me a little on the fence but episode 2 really won me over with the depiction of the battle. Plus I liked Georgiou’s method of delivering a surprise to the Klingons.

So overall I liked it and I’ll be tuning in next week.

Or whatever the verb is for selecting a show from the Netflix menu structure…