The first two episodes show promise, but also raise serious issues for some Trek enthusiasts such as at least one major variance with Star Trek canon.
While the first episode aired on CBS’ broadcast outlets, the second is only available from CBS All Access online service. In addition to Star Trek, nearly the entire catalog of old and new CBS programming is available through the subscription service. This writer didn’t sign up for the service for the other programming, only the exclusive online availability of the new Star Trek.
Probably the first thing that viewers will notice is that they won’t see the Discovery in either of the first two episodes. The action occurs outside the spaceships and inside the U.S.S. Shenzou and a Klingon ship. You will see a multitude of Federation and Klingon ships in battle scenes, but they are part of the ensemble in support roles for the central antagonists.
From the first,scene, it appears Klingons will play a major if not dominant role in the new series. The new series begins with a fierce speech by a Klingon chieftain trying to rally the other tribes, getting ready to deal with the humans. In his words (translated in subtitles), the most dangerous words are, “We come in peace.”
The Klingon ship is inside Federation territory.
While patrolling Federation space, the Chenzou encounters an object of unknown origin in the same vicinity. Commander Michael Burnham, a human raised by Vulcans, persuades her captain to let her take a space walk to find what the object is.
While on the surface of this object, Burnham encounters a Klingon and the result is a death. That death leads to a violent conflict between the two enemy empires.
Upon her return to Chenzou, Burnham is treated for exposure to massive levels of radiation. She, however, runs from her bed to warn the captain that the Klingons are coming and the Federation ship should attack before it is attacked, employing a strategy referred to as “The Vulcan hello.”
A conflict develops between Burnham and the captain, longtime friends on the starship, and Burnham is sent to the brig.
As the battle ensues, Burnham finds herself in deeper trouble. By the second episode, Burnham is tried and convicted and locked up.
If you haven’t seen the first two episodes, I’ve already given you several spoilers, but I will hold back on sharing other tidbits.
There are other items of note. One is the clear violation of Trek canon by the use of holograph technology. This show takes places before The Original Series and in the Trek timeline follows Star Trek Enterprise. On the timeline, the Next Generation followed the Original Series.
There was no use of holography by the Federation before the Next Generation. If one checks out the relatively new “Star Trek Encyclopedia” by Denise and Michael Okuda, there are lots of listings for various types of holographic imaging.
There are, however, no uses of that technology by the except by the Romulans in two Enterprise episodes. In “Babel One” and “United,” the Romulans used holographic projectors to create skins for ships that would make them appear of any design. And that’s it until Next Generation. …
The technical prowess of the new series is undeniable. Yet, many questions remain that need to be answered.
One concern about the new series is the role of Klingons. Michael Dorn, who starred as the Klingon Worf, reportedly had pitched a series idea to CBS about Klingons.
I certainly hope this series isn’t just about the conflicts with the Klingons. There is so much to explore and discover in the universe before the Original Series.
I guess we will start to discover that as we watch the future episodes.