Star Trek Discovery is taking us back to the future
If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll be excited that Netflix has released season two of the Star Trek Discovery series.
Set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series – and separate from the timeline of the concurrently produced feature films – the first season of Discovery explored the Federation–Klingon war from the perspective of the crew of the USS Discovery.
At the heart of the series was the hero’s journey of Science Specialist Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green). A human, raised as a Vulcan, Burnham brings a fresh perspective to these adventures in space. A strong, powerful, intelligent woman, Burnham always acts with the best of intentions, even if the results don’t quite turn out as planned.
Queers in space
Science Fiction has always been a pretty queer genre, but while the Star Trek franchise has been pretty good at celebrating diversity in general, one of the big moves in Discovery was to give us a gay couple as main, recurring characters.
Chief Engineer Paul Stamets (played by Anthony Rapp) and Medical Officer Hugh Culber (played by Wilson Cruz) are the first openly gay characters in Star Trek – putting to one side Sulu in the Beyond film – and we get to see the couple living and working together without their sexuality being the cause of any drama or narrative plot-points.
While Culber was killed off in the first season, the word is that he’ll somehow be reappearing in season two, so hopefully we have more queer love to look forward to.
While the first season of Discovery seemed to be the shake-up that the Star Trek franchise was desperately needing, as we begin the second season it’s not exactly clear where we’re heading.
Serious fans of Star Trek weren’t entirely happy with Discovery. It didn’t really follow the expected format, the storytelling was a bit of a roller-coaster, and it was a fresh take that sometimes felt a bit too fresh.
There’s been a major creative change – Bryan Fuller was the creative director of the first season, but he’s now parted ways with the production company, and it seems as if we’re veering back to the nostalgia of the Star Trek universe as we once knew it.
The narrative is firmly anchored in the world of the Star Ship Enterprise – familiar and comfortable territory for long-time fans.
Not there’s anything wrong in preaching to the choir, good Star Trek can be great TV, but it would be a shame if Discovery doesn’t make the most of the opportunity to really challenge our imaginations, to really boldly go where we’ve never been before.