I finally finished watching the final bits of “The Battle at the Binary Stars”, the second episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Here’s my quick review of the show!
I thought the premiere episodes were great. In Canada, Discovery is being released on Space, the Canadian version of the SyFy channel. I’m incredibly thankful that I don’t need to subscribe to CraveTV, which is where you can stream the show in Canada.
If I were to give it an arbitrary rating, I’d say 3.5/5. The show was visually impressive, and had a story that was somewhat straightforward to follow. There were some bits I didn’t like (I’ll get to that), but overall I found enough that will keep me coming back weekly.
What I didn’t like
The Klingons – but not for the reason you’d think. I’m not hung up on the design choices for the show; in fact I think I’d find it distracting if the technology looked dated compared to what we have available to us today. Similarly for the Kilngons, the updated look didn’t phase me a bit.
What bothered me was the way they spoke, and the slow subtitles. I found it very hard to follow along, because they spoke so slowly and the subtitles used such short sentence fragments. Let me correct my phrasing a bit; it wasn’t that they spoke slowly at all, it was actually just the subtitles. I think their speech patterns were the most “realistic” of all Klingon depictions. Their scenes just felt extremely slow and took me out of the episode because of it.
I also found it confusing that we started with a crew that had already been together 7 years, and we’re most likely never seeing them again. Why couldn’t we start with the Discovery, if that’s where we’re going? That’s a minor beef though, and I’m willing to see what they’ve got for the rest of the season.
What I did like
Yep, the list of what I didn’t like was pretty short. While introducing the Shenzhou was a negative, it was also somewhat of a positive for me. It really did feel like we were seeing a crew that had spent 7 years together – there was no awkward “nice to meet you” moments we might usually get in a Star Trek pilot. Especially the relationship between Saru and Burnham was really well done.
I mentioned the impressive visuals earlier; like I said, I wasn’t caught up with the fact that these sets look even more advanced than the Enterprise sets did at the time. They do look like a natural progression from the Enterprise sets, which I thought made sense for 100 years’ difference. From the technical standpoint, I thought it was great that this didn’t “look” like a TV show (whereas you can tell the original Trek series are filmed on sets, no matter how alive they tried to make them).
I thought Commander Burnham was portrayed excellently – you could tell she was a different character from when she first joined the Shenzhou to her moment of defiance 7 years later. You can feel that there is a lot of character development that happened in between, and you can trust that it happened without having to see it.
When I first saw the trailer for this, I wasn’t initially interested in the show. I would watch the first episode, and try to catch it if I could. But as the premiere date came, I realized I was legitimately excited for a new Trek show.
And now, after seeing the first two episodes, I can’t wait to have a weekly Sunday night TV date. Everybody is talking about it – it’s great.
If you haven’t seen the episodes yet, go and watch them. Judge for yourself whether it has a “Star Trek” message or not (I think the jury is still out on that).