Star Trek Discovery Is Another Nail In The Coffin For Franchise

Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery CBS All Access

It seems for the past decade, Star Trek, a brand once defined by its devotion to the kind of earnest unadulterated science fiction that has since become an antiquity in the genre, has been relegated to an ambiguous space-faring skeleton of which to hang whatever garbage any given hack is particular to. Back in 2009, that meant training wheels for genuinely talented director J.J. Abrams to make the Stars Wars film he’s been dying to make his whole career, anchored by a screenplay penned by the Leopold and Loeb of the film industry, Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

The first film, simply titled Star Trek , was a competent film in its own right but its sequel, Into Darkness, effectively buried the burgeoning franchise before it could gain any steam. Most recently, we have Star Trek: Discovery, the first Star Trek TV series in over ten years, which somehow has NO ONE excited, not even fans of the Kelvin timeline it clearly takes its cues from.

The series follows Michael Burnham, the human adoptive sister of Spock (a character never mentioned in the shows 50-year history) as the first officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou. She’s the first human to attend the Vulcan Learning Center, which her... oh god, who cares? Who the fuck keeps letting Alex Kurtzman make stuff?! How does this stuff work? Neill Blomkamp doesn’t get to make an Alien movie, but Kurtzman gets to helm a Star Trek show after he ravaged it on the big screen twice, wrote the Amazing Spider Man 2, Transformers, and wrote and directed the shittier Mummy?

This series is betrothed to established canon and the prime timeline shtick is objectively bullshit. You see, back in 2005, Viacom had split into two divisions: the new Viacom retained its ownership of Paramount, which ownd the rights to Star Trek, and the old Viacom became the CBS corporation we all know and hate today. When everything was said and done, Paramount still owned the feature films made up until that point, but CBS owned the brand of Star Trek, i.e character likeness, staples, creature designs etc. Paramount’s Star Trek legally has to verge from anything resembling everything reestablished by the Prime canon. Star Trek: Discovery is being developed under Paramount. From the raised deltas, to the sleek Apple store starships, this series is PROHIBITED from resembling (tonally and aesthetically) the CBS-owned property Kurtzman promises it's impacted by.

The team of continuity watchers said to be making sure this is not the case weren't brought on until episode 8, which leads me to believe they're nothing more than cursory answers to the unexpected backlash the cast and crew has received regarding the show’s deviation from Roddenberry’s vision.

The sad truth may be that Star Trek as we know it no longer has a place in the entertainment world today. For better or worse, it's a relic of a by-gone era. It’s brand has become too ubiquitous for the slow, hard sci-fi hallmarks that it was birthed from. These days Star Trek is just a license to make whatever sort of bland space-based action schlock a studio feels like shitting out while making sure there will be an audience lined up to see it. Star Trek: Discovery just might be the nail in the coffin to one of the greatest science fiction creations of all time.

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