So all those rabid pro-Disco guys who were crying at me about my (obviously well-founded) thought that hey, you know, maybe if you’re going to call your show “Star Trek” it ought to have a little Star Trek in it all had heart attacks last night when the show started streaming, right? Their brains all had simultaneous aneurysms, right? Because they’ve all spent a year and a half yelling at me and calling me a hater because I thought STD didn’t have any Star Trek in it, much less any “discovery” and I was told I was being a hater by people who aren’t as old as some pants I have and who grew up in a world where being a nerd was awesome. Strident jerks who wrote to me just give up your love for the 60s TOS stuff because it’s a new world, now, Grandpa. Just pay for that new streaming service even though the rest of the planet gets it on Netflix because that’s just how it all is, now.
And then what happens? This week’s episode, “If Memory Serves,” starts out with a “Previously, on Star Trek” with clips from “The Cage” and the full-on Alexander Courage theme music. So, really. If this show had been giving us this kind of thing the whole time, it wouldn’t seem so much like borrowed interest and more like a Battlestar: Galactica-type “re-imagining.” So much easier to swallow than the no, this really is the prime timeline but everything is wildly different thing the CBS marketing folks and the production staff and their weasel mouthpieces were trying to make us swallow for three years.
At this point, it seems like a vindication for those of us who, you know, like Star Trek, that this schizophrenic show that wanted us to just swallow anything because it said Star Trek on the tin is actually giving us a little Star Trek with their idiocy. Sure, it’s 2019, so we have to eat the Dutch angles and the long lens and the JJlensflare for style reasons, but at least that distracting and idiotic stuff that gets in the way of actual storytelling is finally just a thing getting in the way and not a hallmark of folks who don’t know what they are doing.
Sure, the transporter sound-flowers are an easy three-pointer, and Vina showing up was obvious from a mile away, but this episode didn’t offend me that much. Kind of like scanning a bunch of old family photos and touching them up in Photoshop. Nobody’s making new memories yet, but looking back on the old days doesn’t make the old eyes squint so much, now.
Boy, though, as much as I liked this episode as a walk down memory lane with new kids playing the parts, the dual nature of the show really emphasizes how much the core STD characters-and-situations do a disservice to the core Star Trek concept. This episode was a joy to sit through because it was driven by Pike and Spock as the motive powers in the through-scenes, and buoyed by grace notes from Saru and dark betrayal by Lady Robocop.
Dumb what-is-the-nature-of-identity fistfights were cliché when Blade Runner did it in 1982, and it’s just a boot-to-the-head metaphor in 2019 when Tyler and Culber do it now which offends even the cursory viewer. Vast interior spaces that need to be pressurized that have no utility to emotion or story or import. This whole show is a mess because it comes across the screen to us in our living rooms like a comedian doing his set is actually listening to his hecklers and changing his show. Just do your gig and ignore the Peanut Gallery. Otherwise, you end up with stuff like S1E3 being a second pilot and your ship running on mushrooms that you eventually forget about and do an alternate dimension story for characters no one in the audience cares about yet and then you have to bring in the white guy to save everything in your diversity show you heralded for the latest iteration of a program that brought diversity to television in the first place fifty years ago so you just look like idiots playing up you’re doing the thing your IP is already known for and and and and
Please, CBS. Just give us a show with Pike and Number One and Saru and Jet Reno exploring strange, new worlds, and new civilizations and boldly going where no one has gone before.