Star Trek: Discovery arrives on 25 September on Netflix (24 if you’re in the US and get to enjoy in on CBS All Access) and this latest trailer provides the best look at the show yet. It would be fair to say that it’s the darkest take on Star Trek we’ve ever had on the small screen both in terms of lighting and subject matter – although I’m sure many would claim Deep Space Nine or Enterprise season 3 were equally as bleak.
From this trailer, the show appears to focus on the breakout of war with the Klingons and the destruction of the USS Shenzhou, where our lead character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) serves as first officer under Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) before joining the new USS Discovery under (hello to) Jason Isaacs’ Captain Lorca.
Here we get our first look at Isaacs who sadly isn’t using his English accent. Stewart did and he was supposed to be French so really it doesn’t matter where you’re from in the future. We also get a first glimpse of Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd, an antagonist from the original Star Trek series, who in those shows was camp, silly and fun (and totally sexist.)
Using this character as a dark, gritty, realistic madman seems to reveal plenty about the philosophy of this show. Clearly this is a war-based show, a dark look at life on the edge of the final frontier. That’s okay, that’s part of the history, but does it feel like Star Trek? The iconography of the ships, transporter and chevrons (so many chevrons) is there, but the feel is more like Battlestar Galactica. Star Trek should be a great platform to tell accessible science fiction stories, exploring the issues of humanity today, extrapolating high concept ideas from real science, all with characters you like to spend time with.
This show, from marketing so far, looks to be revelling in, and also contradicting established continuity, essentially alienating everyone. It doesn’t look like it’s any fun. Star Trek may claim the highbrow high ground over Star Wars but it still had a warmth and a camp fun. The humans aren’t necessarily the flawed people we know today. They are hyper-intelligent weirdos who spend most of their time having meetings in their pyjamas. Call me old fashioned, but I think we’re going to miss that.
Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Maulik Pancholy and Anthony Rapp also star.