Star Trek: Discovery

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Apparition

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Eight days until launch, at least in the United States and Canada. I subscribed to CBS All Access (commercial free tier), and will give the first few episodes a go. I'm very concerned that it's rated TV-MA as that's a good sign of significant graphic violence and/or gore, but then a CBS executive described it as a show that can be watched with your family, sooo... :confused:

Here's a tour of the bridge of the U.S.S. Discovery, (which I've nicknamed the U.S.S. Blueberry, you can see why in the video).


A budget of $9 million per episode, and a $10 per month subscription fee... here's hoping that it's good.
 
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daniel_ream

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Leaving aside for a moment the virtue signaling of the writers, this new phenomenon of everyone trying to have their own Netflix and siloing content off into multiple $10/month streaming services could kill the business model. It's definitely going to bring video piracy back in a big way.
 

Apparition

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Disney announced that they're going to launch their own video streaming service and pull all of their content off of Netflix. They have a chance at success, just because Disney is so huge. The rest, not so much. Unfortunately, we're going to have to deal with this expansion of everyone and their mother having their own video streaming service for a few years IMO. It'll eventually start to consolidate, but probably not until the early-to-mid-2020s. In the meantime, we'll have to pick and choose.
 

The Butcher

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At some point I was excited for this.

But every time I read something about it I grow less confident. Recently I was tipped over from "cautiously optimistic" to "downright iffy" by the revelation that Sonequa Martin-Green's character was raised by Spock's parents. I smell J. J. Abrams' stench all over the script.

I think not even Rainn Wilson (one of my favorite comic actors) as Harcort Fenton Mudd (one of my favorite TOS antagonists) can make up for this.
 

Apparition

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Yeah, Commander Michael Burnham being Spock's adopted sister is a bit of a "small world syndrome." On the other hand, just about every Trek show had the outsider looking in on humanity (Spock in TOS, Data in TNG, Odo in DS9). That this time the outsider looking in is a human raised on Vulcan by Vulcans is interesting.
 

The Butcher

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Yeah, Commander Michael Burnham being Spock's adopted sister is a bit of a "small world syndrome." On the other hand, just about every Trek show had the outsider looking in on humanity (Spock in TOS, Data in TNG, Odo in DS9). That this time the outsider looking in is a human raised on Vulcan by Vulcans is interesting.

She (he?) could've been raised by Vulcans other than Sarek. Or by any other of a number of alien species. Or by an AI. This is a cheap, lazy way to sew the new character on an old character.
 

daniel_ream

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"The character seeking what it means to be human" is absolutely a Trek trope (you forgot the Doctor from Voyager and T'Pol from Enterprise) but the problem is that it's been done to death and they haven't had any new ideas on the concept in decades.

When Voyager went off the air there were no new Trek shows on the horizon and there were interviews with some of the various cast, and I remember Marina Sirtis saying that she thought it was time for Star Trek to go away for twenty years or so until it could be brought back for a new audience to whom it would be fresh and new. The subtext - everything that can be done with Star Trek has been done with Star Trek - was pretty clear.

The challenge Star trek faces right now is that Trek has always been social commentary and Greek morality play tarted up as pulp SF. That was unique in the 1960s but now everything on television is social commentary and morality play. And as the ur-episodic science fiction show its format has been copied to death by everything else. Trek needs to bring something new to the table, and the indications are they haven't got it.
 

noman

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"The character seeking what it means to be human" is absolutely a Trek trope (you forgot the Doctor from Voyager and T'Pol from Enterprise) but the problem is that it's been done to death and they haven't had any new ideas on the concept in decades.

When Voyager went off the air there were no new Trek shows on the horizon and there were interviews with some of the various cast, and I remember Marina Sirtis saying that she thought it was time for Star Trek to go away for twenty years or so until it could be brought back for a new audience to whom it would be fresh and new. The subtext - everything that can be done with Star Trek has been done with Star Trek - was pretty clear.

The challenge Star trek faces right now is that Trek has always been social commentary and Greek morality play tarted up as pulp SF. That was unique in the 1960s but now everything on television is social commentary and morality play. And as the ur-episodic science fiction show its format has been copied to death by everything else. Trek needs to bring something new to the table, and the indications are they haven't got it.

I've been resisting posting on this thread because I couldn't address the actual OP without going into a Nerd-Rage level rant about the franchise. Daniel just summed up my thoughts on the matter much better than I could.
 

daniel_ream

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Okay, so here's a question: can Trek be saved, and how?

If the problem is that Trek hasn't done anything new for decades, what can it do that is new and still recognizably Trek? Can it do something new and still be Trek, or are the tropes immutable? What tropes are required for Trek to be Trek, and which can be altered/jettisoned?

I will say that one unexplored Trek trope is IDIC; I think they did some excellent work with Tuvok and his background on Voyager (and some truly execrable work with Worf everywhere else). I don't want to see any more nonhuman characters striving to learn what it means to be human. I want to see Vulcan, Klingon or Romulan characters striving to understand what it means to be Vulcan, or Klingon, or Romulan. I want Alien Nation levels of culture detail instead of Forehead Aliens. And I'd like it without any moralizing.
 

Belle Sorciere

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Doesn't talking about "virtue signalling" run afoul of the whole "no politics" thing?
 

noman

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Doesn't talking about "virtue signalling" run afoul of the whole "no politics" thing?

I can't speak for the mods, but I don't think Daniel is crossing any lines here. ST has always had political themes associated with it. You can't really talk about it too much without touching on those themes.

EDIT: I've edited out the latter part of my above paragraph that contained a trace of political subject matter, out of respect for the clarification on where the political line is, and becuse it's political flamewar bait.

I'll only state that I don't like American politics injected in my entertainment, and the producers have stated they want their stories to have heavy political themes. Therefore, my interest in the show is not as great as it was initially.
 
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noman

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On the contrary, bringing it up invites debate outside of the context of the show itself. Either politics is allowed or it isn't.

Fair enough. Not my call. The No Politics rule is a line that can be a little fuzzy. I'll just say that I don't think he's crossed any lines.

EDIT: Belle, I spazzed out on the like and reply buttons when I posted this. If your alert feeds seem crazy, that's why. Went ahead and gave you like, just to compensate for my ineptness here.
 
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Belle Sorciere

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Fair enough. Not my call. The No Politics rule is a line that can be a little fuzzy. I'll just say that I don't think he's crossed any lines.
Bringing up virtue signalling invites debate as to what "virtue signalling" is and whether it's an appropriate characterization. To put it another way, there's no way to respond to his comment without becoming very political.

Asserting that virtue signalling exists in any particular context is a political claim all on its own and implies an entire political outlook. If it's not over the line then this forum was misrepresented to me.
 

noman

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Bringing up virtue signalling invites debate as to what "virtue signalling" is and whether it's an appropriate characterization. To put it another way, there's no way to respond to his comment without becoming very political.

Asserting that virtue signalling exists in any particular context is a political claim all on its own and implies an entire political outlook. If it's not over the line then this forum was misrepresented to me.

Weirdly enough, I can't respond to this without getting political myself. :smile:

I'm not a mod. I don't speak for or represent the Pub. If I say he didn't cross any lines, I mean he didn't cross any lines for me. Obviously this is a point of concern for you. If that's the case, then perhaps taking it up Tristram or Endless Flight might be the thing to do.

No snark or disrespect is intended in this post.
 

TristramEvans

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OK, yeah, its iffy. When it comes to media criticism, its going to be very hard to deal with a lot of stuff without delving into how that media reflects political themes. On the other hand, the comment regarding "virtue signalling" was specifically directed at the writers rather than the content of the media, and, as a phrase, its a bit, shall we say, "politically loaded" in regards to online discourse. So, how about from now on we avoid modern catchphrases altogether and if any political themes in media are discussed, we stick to more general and less contemporary terminology? (And if anyone wants to discuss this further, lets take it to Site Discussion and let this thread get back to Trek).

And Daniel, chill out man. We all want a forum thats free of the constant stress and annoyance of modern political schisms. I'm not saying you did anything wrong, but that doesn't mean Belle's interpretation was wrong either. I'm erasing that last post, because nothing good will come of that.
 

TristramEvans

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If it's not over the line then this forum was misrepresented to me.

The forum is finding its feet, but trust me, it has not been misrepresented to you. Its just that everyone's going to have differing standards as to what they consider "political", and with no hard rules we'll be taking each case on an individual basis and look for input from every PoV. At the end of the day, I think we all want the same thing, though.
 

Endless Flight

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Asserting that virtue signalling exists in any particular context is a political claim all on its own and implies an entire political outlook. If it's not over the line then this forum was misrepresented to me.

Belle,

Like Tristram said, we like to take these issues on a case by case basis. We would really like to avoid going down the road where we have to write up a detailed list of rules for people to follow when they post here. There is a no-politics rule and that will be enforced by all current and future staff here. We just need time to sort through these things, and given that it's just Tristram and I as mods right now, it can take a little longer. Thanks for your patience.
 

Belle Sorciere

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The forum is finding its feet, but trust me, it has not been misrepresented to you. Its just that everyone's going to have differing standards as to what they consider "political", and with no hard rules we'll be taking each case on an individual basis and look for input from every PoV. At the end of the day, I think we all want the same thing, though.

I apologize for handling this the way I did last night. I probably could have done it better.

Belle,

Like Tristram said, we like to take these issues on a case by case basis. We would really like to avoid going down the road where we have to write up a detailed list of rules for people to follow when they post here. There is a no-politics rule and that will be enforced by all current and future staff here. We just need time to sort through these things, and given that it's just Tristram and I as mods right now, it can take a little longer. Thanks for your patience.

That's fair.
 

Stevethulhu

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I have to say, I've got no idea if or when this show is coming to the UK. And I'm not really that interested. Star Trek is a show that should have relevant social commentary thinly veiled by punching, explosions and kissing vaguely non human looking people. Discovery looks to have explosions.

And worse, there are some 726 'episodes' of Trek across 5 live action shows, one animated show and 10 movies. And they want to slot in after the first 98, but before the original series began.

Did nobody watch te Star Wars prequels or Enterprise and realise that prequels are generally unsatisfying and have a huge burden when it comes to established continuity?
 

Apparition

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I have to say, I've got no idea if or when this show is coming to the UK. And I'm not really that interested. Star Trek is a show that should have relevant social commentary thinly veiled by punching, explosions and kissing vaguely non human looking people. Discovery looks to have explosions.

And worse, there are some 726 'episodes' of Trek across 5 live action shows, one animated show and 10 movies. And they want to slot in after the first 98, but before the original series began.

Did nobody watch te Star Wars prequels or Enterprise and realise that prequels are generally unsatisfying and have a huge burden when it comes to established continuity?

FWIW, Star Trek: Discovery makes its way to the United Kingdom on Monday, September 25th, via Netflix, with a new episode (mostly) every Monday following.

Yeah, I'm not too keen on the idea of yet another prequel. But, until shown otherwise, I'm just treating this as a full blown Star Trek reboot. This time it just starts with ships called Shenzhou and Discovery instead of Enterprise.
 

Leon ap Hywel

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I'm not greatly excited about this but then I've always found Trek a bit wanting. Still I'll give it a shot and look forward to being proved wrong or filing it away as time wasted.

As to the politics I think you guys have done a great job so far just with attitude, if it does come down to putting rules in place at least I'm confident they'll be written to reinforce the ethos that this is a place to talk about games and the like.

You should definitely get another mod if the workload gets heavy and hopefully someone tha just wants a good, friendly pint...err chat
 

Tom B

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I'm excited but skeptical. I've been burned too many times. Loved the original series, enjoyed TNG just because it was the return of Trek...but never liked it overly much. DS9 was good but didn't feel like Trek. Disliked VOY. Liked a lot of ENT, but it was killed as it was getting good. So...I'm forever in hope that the next Trek will be good and feel like Trek to me. I wish this wasn't a prequel series, and that it wasn't on a paid service, but I'm sure I'll give it a shot. I like the way it looks from the previews, so that's good.
 

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I would like to give it a chance and ignore the internet's quibbles, but I can't afford another subscription service right now.

I don't mind explosions and action in Trek, as long as the writing and stories are good!
 

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Orville looks way better than Discovery.

It's definitely going to bring video piracy back in a big way.

Agreed.

Disney might pull off their own subscription service, mostly to families with small kids and the Disneyana hardcore, but I don't see a future of a half dozen highly successful streaming services.

But I've got Netflix and I'm considering Amazon Prime so maybe there is a market?
 

Tommy Brownell

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I do Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. I turn Hulu on and off, when either me or my family wants to watch something. Netflix's streaming selection keeps dwindling in favor of original shows I don't watch and is increasingly on the chopping block, and anything not on Amazon that I REALLY want to see is usually available through an additional channel subscription on Amazon that I can turn on and then shut off when I've watched what I want to watch. I can't imagine maintaining a full time subscription to a service that has a limited library.

I have noticed that as companies have added more streaming services with smaller selections and removed their offerings from the existing ones, I've also gone back to buying more DVDs and blu rays.
 

Necrozius

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Disney might pull off their own subscription service, mostly to families with small kids and the Disneyana hardcore, but I don't see a future of a half dozen highly successful streaming services.

I just realized that Disney's service will include all things Star Wars and Marvel too. Yikes!
 

Ram

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On Trek... I have ignored this new series since finding out that it will be behind the network's streaming service paywall. I will likely watch the episode they put on regular TV and then never see the episodes behind the paywall. This bothers me because I've enjoyed a bunch of the Star Trek shows... though not all... I'm looking at you Captain from NCIS New Orleans. (I actually like him on NCIS New Orleans... so it wasn't just his acting that turned me off that show.) As to the weaving of Spock's family into the story line... well, it could work or it could fail... it depends entirely on the quality of the writing. Sometimes the world does prove to be small. As long as it brings value to the story as presented without cheapening the history of the franchise... I wouldn't hold it against them.

On streaming... I sub to two services, Netflix and Amazon Prime. One of which gives me significant value from shipping products bought through them such that the streaming is either a side benefit at little cost or the main attraction that gets me the shipping value as an extra. So, Prime is clearly the best bang for the buck. I have not felt that Netflix was worth the price of the sub for years. (My better half wants it so we get it.) The original shows and movies are starting to get to a place where they might make it worth it. If I don't think Netflix is worth the sub price you can be sure I won't be subscribing to another streaming service just to watch one show. I think Disney will likely be able to pull off their own streaming service just because Disney is huge. I can see it becoming a must have for parents of little kids... and then as they throw their other content on there... like Marvel and Star Wars... and leverage their ownership of a network (ABC, right?)... and then ownership of ESPN... yea, there is a strategy there for that to work... the price point will determine how big it gets... but they should find a point of viability. Whether I ever subscribe is another question.

I assume Disney is watching very closely to fight off Netflix... Netflix could go on offense (as they already have done with their original content) by creating more original content specifically for children... but it is a huge hill to climb to compete with Disney.
 

Tommy Brownell

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If you're a binge watcher (I'm terrible at it), it's really easy to subscribe long enough to marathon a new show and then cancel. I do intend to do something like that with HBO when Game of Thrones finally ends.
 

Apparition

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Right now I subscribe to Amazon Prime Video (really it's just a side bonus for Amazon Prime), CBS All Access (just for Star Trek: Discovery), Hulu, YouTube Red (because YouTube is ubiquitous and I hate commercials), and WWE Network. I'll subscribe to CBS All Access for September and October, and judge Discovery on its first few episodes.
 

Baulderstone

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I'm very concerned that it's rated TV-MA as that's a good sign of significant graphic violence and/or gore, but then a CBS executive described it as a show that can be watched with your family, sooo... :confused:

I'm sure they had another executive out there telling people it was going to edgy. You need to cover all your bases.

Leaving aside for a moment the virtue signaling of the writers, this new phenomenon of everyone trying to have their own Netflix and siloing content off into multiple $10/month streaming services could kill the business model. It's definitely going to bring video piracy back in a big way.

It won't kill the business model. It is just going to be harder and harder for new services to get subscribers. It's like HBO was the first big premium cable channel. They became the default that people got. More channels didn't hurt HBO. It just became harder for the latecomers to get attention.

Seeso was a service that had a few shows I was interested in, but I couldn't bother to add it. It is going under now, and the content is bound to show up on Netflix or Prime soon.

Disney announced that they're going to launch their own video streaming service and pull all of their content off of Netflix. They have a chance at success, just because Disney is so huge. The rest, not so much. Unfortunately, we're going to have to deal with this expansion of everyone and their mother having their own video streaming service for a few years IMO. It'll eventually start to consolidate, but probably not until the early-to-mid-2020s. In the meantime, we'll have to pick and choose.

Disney does have a chance. As their properties are so big. With CBS, they simply risk putting their products in a bubble where nobody will notice them.

Okay, so here's a question: can Trek be saved, and how?
You need someone with a real vision to lead it. When Fuller was attached to this, there was some hope of this being interesting. His departure made it clear that this was going to a corporate product though. It might not be bad, but it isn't going to be anything special. The original show worked because Roddenberry and D.C. Fontana had a clear vision of the show, and they brought in real science-fiction writers to work on the show.

I will say that one unexplored Trek trope is IDIC; I think they did some excellent work with Tuvok and his background on Voyager (and some truly execrable work with Worf everywhere else). I don't want to see any more nonhuman characters striving to learn what it means to be human. I want to see Vulcan, Klingon or Romulan characters striving to understand what it means to be Vulcan, or Klingon, or Romulan. I want Alien Nation levels of culture detail instead of Forehead Aliens. And I'd like it without any moralizing.

I'd like a show with those things, but it wouldn't be Star Trek, and it would just be confusing to be that name on it.

[
 

Apparition

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The Hollywood premiere was last night. According to some people that attended, there was nothing in the first two episodes shown that qualified for a TV-MA rating in their opinions. That's some good news.
 

Belle Sorciere

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So I'm probably going to watch the first episode, but since I'm not subscribing to CBS Access that'll be it.
 

noman

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Sweet Merciful Buddha!

I just saw.

Michelle Yeoh!

Yeah, I'm a gonna watch.

Even though I hate seeing Hong Kong actors and actresses in U.S. Hollywood productions (they're often treated poorly). But still...

Michelle Yeoh!
 

noman

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Also, since I'm on this subject. Star Trek sucks.

The OS was pretty good. Decent stories and interesting themes. The spirit of Roddenberry's futurism.

I hate TNG. I hate it more than I hate fire ants. I'd rather watch the Star Wars prequels, I hate it so much.

DS9 is my favorite simply because there wasn't a character in that series I wasn't interested in and, some of them, I actually loved. By far, IMO, the best actors of the franchise.

Voyager and Enterprise were meh. Didn't care about any of the characters and didn't capture my attention, Jeri Ryan and Jolene Blalock notwithstanding.
 

Apparition

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Taken from elsewhere (not that I entirely agree with it, DS9 is just as good as TOS IMO):

Classic Trek is like Guinness. It's thick and has plenty of flavor but only on tap. They later came out with those special cans to re market it in later years, but they never really did anything. It was also sold with the implied caveat it was an acquired taste.

TOS films are Heineken. Made and marketed for the same consumer crowd. But really a totally different flavor. Being lighter and much easier to swallow allowed it to become more mainstream.

90s Trek is Budweiser. Watered-down and mass produced but with no real flavor at all. Sold with the idea that people will drink it because it's beer and ignore the total lack of quality.

Orville is Coors. Basically the same thing, but with a lot more character.

Kelvin Trek is Sam Adams. Still American but of much higher quality. But the fresh coat of paint and attempts to spruce up the place didn't hide the fact it was still made in a large brewery.

Discovery is like one of those wannabe trendy micro-brews. It has all the fancy packaging and the hip name, but look closely at the label, and it still reads "Anheuser Busch."
 

Stevethulhu

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Also, since I'm on this subject. Star Trek sucks.

The OS was pretty good. Decent stories and interesting themes. The spirit of Roddenberry's futurism.

I hate TNG. I hate it more than I hate fire ants. I'd rather watch the Star Wars prequels, I hate it so much.

DS9 is my favorite simply because there wasn't a character in that series I wasn't interested in and, some of them, I actually loved. By far, IMO, the best actors of the franchise.

Voyager and Enterprise were meh. Didn't care about any of the characters and didn't capture my attention, Jeri Ryan and Jolene Blalock notwithstanding.
I find that TOS hasn't aged well, but there's a part of me that grew up watching Kirk, Spok and McCoy doing ad libs around the captain's chair and so I have a soft spot for it.

The original cast movies vary from all-time classics with TMP and Wrath of Khan to utter garbage with V. I don't even know what the subtitle is for that one, it's that bad.

TNG, on the other hand, is fantastic. Made for syndication, so each episode is a standalone. And when it's good, which it was for a very long run of episodes starting late season 2, early 3 and running right through to season 5, it showed just how big, varied and powerful Trek could be.

DS9 pales next to another sci fi show based around a space station with odd numbers in it's name. It looks like sets on sound stages, the characters look like actors acting. It's too stagey, too theatrical and really, really missed the landing with the final season. Like, worse than Buffy season 7 did.

Voyager, when it was good, was really good. Unfortunately, it was also a lot of recycled and unused TNG scripts. So it was tonally all over the place and never really delivered on the potential it could have had.

And Enterprise would have been great if it didn't have all the baggage of being a Star Trek prequel series.

And that prequel baggage is what worries me about Discovery.

Edit: And the TNG movies were so good I had to edit in a comment about them basically being next level unwatchable garbage.
 

noman

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I find that TOS hasn't aged well, but there's a part of me that grew up watching Kirk, Spok and McCoy doing ad libs around the captain's chair and so I have a soft spot for it.

The original cast movies vary from all-time classics with TMP and Wrath of Khan to utter garbage with V. I don't even know what the subtitle is for that one, it's that bad.

TNG, on the other hand, is fantastic. Made for syndication, so each episode is a standalone. And when it's good, which it was for a very long run of episodes starting late season 2, early 3 and running right through to season 5, it showed just how big, varied and powerful Trek could be.

DS9 pales next to another sci fi show based around a space station with odd numbers in it's name. It looks like sets on sound stages, the characters look like actors acting. It's too stagey, too theatrical and really, really missed the landing with the final season. Like, worse than Buffy season 7 did.

Voyager, when it was good, was really good. Unfortunately, it was also a lot of recycled and unused TNG scripts. So it was tonally all over the place and never really delivered on the potential it could have had.

And Enterprise would have been great if it didn't have all the baggage of being a Star Trek prequel series.

And that prequel baggage is what worries me about Discovery.

Edit: And the TNG movies were so good I had to edit in a comment about them basically being next level unwatchable garbage.

*Raises fist angrily, then hesitates*

I can't make an argument about any of this. :smile:
 
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