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We're still well behind in ST:Discovery episodes but at least we've finished S1 and watched the first episode of S2. I quite liked the season and I think the way it ended tied it in firmly with the Trek ethos, which I find important. Some spoilery discussion for S1 ahead.

Original Trek was my first fandom and despite moving on to others I watched the movies and the other series, read tie-in books, and went to cons, up until the middle of Voyager's run. Watching Voyager was difficult because there was no UPN network where I was and I didn't want to pay for cable given my limited viewing. I caught up with some stuff months later through shared video tapes, but I stopped paying any attention several seasons in because I thought the writing was generally lazy to bad. I was also really peeved with how there seemed to be no quality control with the books either, and I felt the cons had become nothing but a cash grab. It didn't help that TNG films weren't any good and the original series films had ended.

I never watched Enterprise, which most seem to believe wasn't any good until its final season. I've just started watching it and I can see why. The last season does seem better than the 1-2 episodes I tried out in the past. But the reboot movies, oy. I can appreciate that the third was better but it would be a separate post to rehash how disappointing I found these and, mostly, how they kept some of the surface things and very little else.

So I wasn't at all enthused with the news of yet another Trek series, even more so when Bryan Fuller quickly departed, but I'm glad we did watch it. It's almost amusing to contrast Discovery with Enterprise, largely because of the difference in production values. Good writing generally does not need to cost very much, but it makes all the difference in the overall value of the show (as the original series proved), and Discovery has that as well.

I was quite surprised to hear that the show was not tied into the Kelvin verse (which it obviously looks much more like) for several reasons. First, that verse has so much more to explore without fear of disrupting existing canon –- which, counting 6 TV series and 10 films, is considerable. Second, visually speaking it's going to resemble it to a much greater degree since technologically we're decades ahead of the last grouping of shows (and only the original series was actually ahead of its time when it came to technology). And thirdly, it obviously makes more sense to be able to cross market in the same way that Agents of SHIELD did with the MCU. And now that it looks like the movie verse is stalled anyway whereas the show seems to be doing well, it would have been a much smarter idea.

So I really don't know why they'd have done it this way since an enormous number of things don't make sense. Intership beaming, for one. The level of tech, for another. The constant retconning of people into Spock's family (Star Trek V anyone?) Characterization of people and Starfleet. I would likely have found even more stuff jarring had someone not (apparently mistakenly) told me early on that we were watching a different verse.

But whatever -- I suspect that's a discussion that has gone on heatedly in different places. Ultimately whether I watch the show or not has relatively little to do with continuity issues (because regardless of what they say, mentally I am going to assign Discovery to a separate verse because it simply is) as opposed to whether or not it is well written, well acted, and well developed. And on all those fronts, it is. Even if Discovery were not on a pay channel, developing a TV show today allows for greater freedoms than the last time out. And really, if any audience was prepared for in-depth, season-long continuity it should be a Trek audience.

So I'm happy that they've taken that approach and created a show that would never have been run before, not just because of its casting but because of the nature of the storylines. I think it's great that in its earliest episodes we take the viewpoint of a mutineer who has otherwise been a model officer. I like the fact that there is more than one ongoing mystery about who people are. (It seemed clear to me well before reveals that there was something off about both Lorca and Tyler). The Klingon side of the story was a little dull, especially in the first two episodes, but it paid off in the end. Tilly is a delight and I find Saru such a great addition to the Federation's members. I also liked the fact that we didn't know what characters would stay with us through the season, which is fine with me because I think it's more realistic. That said, it wasn't a good look for the gay couple to have one member killed before we could even get to know them as a pairing -- especially since in the end Tyler may have left but he was still alive and will probably return.

I find it kind of tiresome that Spock's family is being used as a hook in the show but I expect that, especially with so many new things being tried, that there was a desire to insert a familiar connection. I also had to roll my eyes at Frain's casting since he's seemed to be in every show around, but I grew to really like his Sarek. It's a little too emotional a performance -- and the whole use of the katra for communication seemed too much to me (I also had to snort that even a lowly cadet knew about it when it took until the third Trek movie for it to be explained to Kirk) –- but I think the bond with Michael came through and would have done without such machinations.

Which is why I was not that enthused to see that Spock will appear in S2, but I did like the introduction to Pike. Although it seems that captains on this show are much like the Master of the Dark Arts instructors in the HP series.

Mostly after the first three episodes of S1 I found I kept wanting to find out what happened next. It was not a predictable season, even if I did anticipate some things. So wanting more and being surprised is a good thing in my book. I'm looking forward to more of S2. So far it has been a mixed bag for me. I quite like the addition of Pike and certain developments but S2 is much more of a standalone one. That is to say that, while it does follow on developments in previous episodes and it does have 2 season-long goals, it is not as tightly woven. For example, Voyager had a series-long goal (return home) and to some degree all episodes dealt with that and included further development of past events, but it was not a continuity based show. So on the one hand, I do like that we're getting episodes focused on people other than Burnham. I think it needs that. But I'm not finding it as surprising as S1 where the season long mystery revealed itself slowly, while at the same time introducing new elements in every episode so that we were never on the same "track" for more than 3 episodes at a time. And I'm finding the writing more Trek typical as well.