By Screen Squinty/Queer Trekker.
Star Trek Discovery.
Season 1 Ep 1 “Vulcan’s Hello.”
Airdate: September 24/25 2017.
Star Trek Discovery, or as its known short hand, DSC. Was created originally by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman for CBS All Access and after several setbacks and delays, finally aired in the US September 24, 2017 and September 25, 2017 for everyone else. With much hype, anticipation, and anxiety leading up to the premiere, DSC had large shoes to fill in the expectation rung, particularly within the long-established Trekkie/Trekker fandom.
As it stated in the promotions, the story focuses on Commander Michael Burnham, played by the talented Sonequa Martin-Green fresh from The Walking Dead series. She is “Number 1” and second in command to Captain Philippa Georgiou of the U.S.S. Shenzhou played by the esteemed Michelle Yeoh known famously for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000).
In the first episode, we are introduced to both some of the crew of The Shenzou and the Klingons. Throughout the first episode, the Klingon Culture, and Michael’s relationship to the Klingons, which receives most of the focus.
When it comes to a premiere of a new series, particularly one from Speculative Fiction and one with so much pressure from both within and without the fandom to be exceptional, the first episode/piolet or two, can usually either start rocky or hooks the audience from the get go.
DSC is of the later, as the first episode has definitely hooked big with the audiences.
To start off with, the special effects are spectacular and set design, with an amusing little homage and reference to the styles and high beams of the Kelvin Universe reboot films. You get a definite feel for the spaces these characters inhabit, with kudos towards the execution of the Klingon warship, treating the vessel as both an up close and personal menacing intricate sculpture and the deadly weapon that it is.
(Top: “Klingon Ship,” Screen Shot, CBC All Access, 2017. Bottom: “Shenzou Bridge,” CBC All Access, 2017.)
The contrast between the stark clean lines, open spaces, and cool tones of blues and greys of Shenzou and the ceremonial congestion and dark golds, bronze and reds of the Klingon vessel was great and emphasized the alieness of both cultures to each other well.
The opening credits was beautiful! Excellent misc. Star Trek score played over a semi-surreal amalgam of blueprints and organic objects blended together, another big kudos to the person(s) who came up with the visuals for the opening, it’s a splendid piece of art!
The characters were on par, with the dynamic between Michael and Lt. Commander Saru played by the amazing Doug Jones being the strongest. Both characters naturally meshing well together with equal parts sniping and respect for each other. Those moments between the two were the most enjoyable part of the episode, something that will hopefully be carried forward throughout the series.
That brings us to the Klingons.
Klingons are considered one the most favoured of the aliens depicted so far in the franchise. They have been there since the beginning from TOS onward. They have had their culture expanded starting in TNG, and have gone through colourful and extensive physical depictions since their first appearance 51 years ago.
During the long wait for DSC earlier this year, there was some negative reception to the latest incarnation of the Klingons, and admittedly, it can be a little unsettling to see the vast shift in Klingon design, which is likely what TOS fans felt when they were introduced to the updated version in TNG, or how fans felt when the Kelvin Universe reboot films introduced there Klingon design in the second film.
While the shift in design is drastically different, it doesn’t mean that in and of itself it isn’t good. In fact, I would even say on their own the design is rather brilliant, and matches the aggressive portrayal and potential of Klingons.
The additions to the Klingon culture, particularly with the death rites of mummification and sticking the bodies to the hull of their ships, combined with some of the well-established traditions, such as the Klingon Death scream/roar and opening the eyes after death, was an appreciated touch. It does a good job with that scene in merging old and newer depictions of the Favorite of the Trekker/Trekkie fandom.
Overall the episode was a good introduction to the series. The plot was well paced, with the action of the series carrying you forward from one scene to the next wmoothly without being bored at any point, the characters compelling with good dynamics, the special effects and designs were well thought out and a pleasure to look at, the nods to both established canon and new additions to be made was well done, and the acting was superb.
Overall, I would highly recommend this series to those both within and without the fandom.
To watch it go on CBC All Access (American), CTV/Space/CraveTV (Canadian), Netflix (Everyone else).
*Note: Featured Image at the top was found at Trekcore.com.