Streaming on UK Netflix from: Monday 25th September 2017
Story by: Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman
Teleplay by: Akiva Goldsman and Bryan Fuller
Directed by: David Semel
LIGHT THE BEACON
“They are coming.”
After a century of only fleeting interaction between the Starfleet of Earth and the warriors of the Klingon Empire, a war is on the horizon as the Klingons pursue a “crusade of self-preservation” against those who purport to “come in peace.” Captain Philippa Georgiou’s (Michelle Mechanic: Resurrection Yeoh) USS Shenzhou is the Federation starship which first encounters the oncoming storm…
It is back! After a rebooted resurgence on the big-screen (the latter two of the Kelvin trilogy I reviewed HERE and HERE) and 12 years after Enterprise docked early, Gene Rodenberry’s perpetually endearing and iconic science fiction franchise is back at home on television with a new prequel series set in 2256, a decade before the adventures of Kirk, Spock, Bones and the crew from 1966-69’s maiden voyage Star Trek: The Original Series.
Twice announced and twice pushed back and with series showrunner Bryan American Gods Fuller – co-writer of this pilot episode – eventually forced to step away from a hands-on role, fans were perhaps well within their rights to be a tad wary of Discovery’s quality. But rest assured, Trekkers, this is a solid and promising launch which, for all the pre-release talk of modern-flair and grittiness, feels like prime Trek. In a good way.
The Klingon’s look spikier and more ornate than ever before, and while I’m not yet sold on their ret-conned styling, they are in keeping with some truly sublime and rich set design. This series looks expensive and feels immersive. From radiated alien egg sacks on barren a desert world to a space suit-aided jet into an unidentified crystalline structure, this is visually expansive and diverse futuristic entertainment.
Away from the aesthetic appeal, Discovery soars in its character set up, with the triangulated relationship between Captain Georgiou, “Number One” Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Science Officer Saru (Doug Crimson Peak Jones) nailed perfectly in this opening 40 minutes. Granted a flashback to her adoptive upbringing on Vulcan, human Burnham is the clear star, raising many questions and providing some surprising ‘diplomatic’ answers. Kelpien Saru provides some smile-worthy levity with some derisive delivery, but it is Burnham’s most shocking action which lends “The Vulcan Hello” its most jaw-dropping shock.
“It would be unwise to mix race and culture.”
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Star Trek series without lashings of ideological philosophising, and episode 1.1 does well to balance its verbose posturing, hard science and exciting set-pieces. There’s still a long way to go, but as a first step on a daunting new frontier, Star Trek: Discovery has confidently and successfully “set [its] star” early.
CR@B’s Claw Score: