Updated: Apr 5
I was disappointed when the first commentary I heard about Star Trek´s latest new franchise Discovery was all about an antifemale lead rant, bitching about an Asian female captain and her black Number One, and that was the first comment about the series I came across and a couple of years went by before I got to check out the characters and crew for myself and to be honest, I was blown away.
Whereas Picard touches on a nostalgic thread that really delivered, Discovery takes us into the future with realistic sets and futuristic gadgetry that brings us from a pre-Kirk era where Captain Pike finally gets to lead the Enterprise and Discovery, and boldly go where Christopher Pike never got to go before.
The technology is impressive and the overarching story fantastic and the characters are great even if it took me some time to warm to all of them.
There is a lot of social commentaries to look at but hasn´t Star Trek always shown us the future from the helm of the Enterprise, Deviant, Voyager and now Discovery?
MAKE NO BONES ABOUT IT JIM
Yes, the doctor is gay and openly kisses his husband who is the Scotty of the show but Captain Kirk was kissing Uhura fifty years ago so let´s not get worked up about fraternising with coworkers in the future when they did it in the past, shall we?
The past quickly catches up with the future as Discovery goes from a kind of experimental sister ship to the original Enterprise where we see the Big E alongside Discovery at times, and even though they are very different ships, Discovery´s protagonist is a half Vulcan half-sister to Mr Spock where the lead has to bridge the gap between her brother and his future with Star Fleet Command.
Some will have their shields up when it comes to a Star Trek soroity of senior officers as if women never appeared on the bridge of the Enterprise before and I am reminded of the fact that Captain Pike´s Number One in the pilot episode "The Cage" was a woman, way back in February 1965.
We have a black female lead replacing the bed-hopping Captain Kirk which I am sure some people can´t quickly relate to and I saw the following post on a Facebook group called Star Trek Universe.
"I picked up Discovery S3 today on DVD. As a Star Trek fan, I'm compelled to watch this but I'm really not looking forward to it. In my opinion, the writers of the current brand of Star Trek have shifted their focus from pure science fiction to social issues, all in the name of representation. I don't mean any disrespect to any group or community. I just want some good Trek and not a lesson in social justice. I can get that here in the real world.
So, for me, it's going to be a long 9 hours & 23 minutes.
Here goes nothing."
The fact that this guy has teleported to the nearest Blockbuster for a DVD copy should tell us all we need to know about this fan´s view of the modern world, and I am sure he was disappointed that he couldn´t view it on VHS and was probably disappointed that he had to embrace the future for 9 hours and 23 minutes but I doubt many people would agree with him that the writers have shifted their focus from pure science fiction to social issues as Star Trek has always embraced social justice the way no other show could.
KEEPING UP WITH THE CARDASSIANS
I believe that both Star Trek and Star Wars have given an entire generation two good role models with Luke Skywalker and Mr Spock. I believe children have grown up trying to avoid the Darkside and looking for logic thanks to Jedis and the Federation, and it is the kind of positive influence you aren´t going to get watching so-called Reality TV, and Keeping up with the Kardashians.
There is another world for us out there to explore where social justice is at the heart of issues and you won´t find it with Trump´s "Clean coal" promises, building a wall or locking her up.
There was a time when we ignored science and progress and we call it "the dark ages" but Star Trek and particularly Discovery, open up a bright new colourful future that all Trekkies should be able to enjoy even if that means powering up a DVD player for 9 hours and 23 minutes.
Here´s to a brighter future for everyone and a very happy belated birthday to William Shatner who turned 90 on the 22nd of March and led us into the future we know today where communicators are commonplace and everyone has a big screen to watch.
THE GREATEST THINGS SINCE SLICED BREAD
Born in 1931, every invention for him must have been the greatest thing since sliced bread which was only invented in 1928 and when it comes to actual sci-fi where we frequently see airships in the skies, Shatner was born into an era of blimps and airships where aviatrix Amelia Earhart was flying solo across the Atlantic when Shatner was only a baby and even in a man´s world, Charles Lindberg had barely crossed the Atlantic in 1927 and boldly flying anywhere as a passenger during his early years would have probably required a sea captain for the seaplanes that were used by passengers at the time.
Within his lifetime from the 1930´s Depression, he would have seen science fiction become science fact as blimps became Boeings and World War II gave us rocketry that put man on the moon and Shatner gave us a vision of the future where the woman he kissed on screen became a NASA ambassador who recruited NASA´s first black astronauts and NASA directors and watched on from the sidelines as The Next Generation gave a black female astronaut a small part on their show too.
OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
It´s Life Jim but not as we might have known it, so I salute you and your crew who have seen the world at its worst and imagined it at its best. Martin Luther King Junior was Uhura´s biggest fan and Sulu´s young life was imprisoned in an Internment Camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbour where the actor who played him George Takei has become a gay icon known for talking about social justice.
Plot a course for a fairer future if you dare and I´ll hopefully see you there,
where we can all live long and prosper, and Asian hate does not become America´s future.
THINGS AREN´T ALWAYS BLACK AND WHITE OR WHITE AND BLACK
I am serious about making things better for everyone and I remember finding common ground with a MAGA Trump fan who I call my "Adorable Deplorable" friend as we discussed Star Trek and Star Wars while argueing about the future of Trump´s divisive policies.
Set your AR15 on stun as we laser in on social issues and social justice but if you want to return to William Shatner´s 1930 autocratic world, then count me out and follow me and the crew of Discovery to a world where Captain Pike is at the helm of the Enterprise and our beloved Captain Kirk doesn´t even make an appearance on your DVD boxset as much as we would all love to see William Shatner doing a Picard series of his own. Maybe in the future.
This series is traditional in the sense that it breaks new ground but yet is still very much rooted in the Star Trek universe we have all enjoyed for Generations.
"You're a Starfleet captain. You believe in service, sacrifice, compassion, and love. No. I'm not going to abandon the things that made me who I am because of a future… that contains an ending I… I hadn't foreseen for myself." – Christopher Pike