Star Trek: Discovery, set to be released this fall, has entered the wild speculation stage of production. There’s a trailer that tells us just enough for denizens of the internet to get angry about. There are a lot of women and not a lot of white folks, and there are some aliens that are supposed to be Klingons but look rather purple and their ship is inexplicably Gothic.
You can imagine the furor in the nerdiverse.
I, for one, am cautiously optimistic. It’s been over a decade since Enterprise, us giving enough time to forget it, and over twenty since The Next Generation, letting it pass into nostalgia space. That gives the new show an opportunity to start fresh, without the burden of direct and immediate comparison. It has an chance to be its own thing, to have its own style, and to speak to the issues of today.
That’s what made The Next Generation succeed. It didn’t try to be a sequel to the original series. It took inspiration and guidance from it, but didn’t try to do the same thing. It was of its time.
My hope is that we will get the same with Discovery, a new story that speaks to the audiences of today rather than trying to play on the nostalgia for the old series. My optimism is somewhat tempered by what little we do know about the series, though.
It is set ten years before the start of the original series. That seems very limiting. It’s trying to wedge itself into a very narrow window. It limits the technology they can develop and the aliens they can interact with. They can’t do anything really new and innovative because the are bound by the limits of the established canon. They may be stuck playing prequel instead of getting to be their own thing. Worse, they’d be a prequel to a very old and dated narrative.
Also, the Klingons (if they are Klingons) look nothing like any Klingon we’ve seen. That’s fine and brilliant, but I worry it will undermine one of the finest lampshades ever hung in television history:
I remain hesitantly hopeful that the series will be brilliant. It certainly seems to be working with a new aesthetic and taking a different angle than the previous series have. It could easily be a terrible disappointment. Even if it is, maybe it will be inspiring for someone else. Every generation needs their own Star Trek.
What I am unequivocally and unabashedly excited for, though, is the costumes.
More on that tomorrow.