I gave Star Trek Discovery another try

I started watching Star Trek Discovery when it premiered in 2017, and it didn’t go well. I only made it a few episodes, and I didn’t like the speechifying Klingons (or the font used for their subtitles), I really didn’t like Burnham, and I generally found everybody so disagreeable that no one good thing was enough to overcome all the things that weren’t sitting well with me.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have mainlined Enterprise before trying Discovery back then, because 1) I definitely had Klingon burnout and 2) The loss of a crew that I loved had me clamoring for another crew to love. And when your series starts with a mutiny and then expects you to love its mutineer…that’s a big ask. So it took four years (including a year of quarantine) to decide to try again.

To give an idea of how it’s going: I restarted season one near the end of March. It was 15 episodes. As I write this, it’s April 12, I’m nine episodes into season two and Discovery has become the show for which I neglect all my other shows, housework, a little bit of sleep and most cooking that doesn’t involve a microwave or freezer so that I might watch just one more episode. (I also started writing this post at the conclusion of season one. And, well, it’s been days and here we are.)

There’s a lot of gushing I could and will do about season two, but for me the non-spoilery turning point came right around the time I stopped watching, actually. A lot of things happened, but for me, the biggest turnaround was what didn’t: Far less time was spent listening to Klingons mumble gruntily around their teeth while I sat there unable to take in the intricate surroundings and costuming because I don’t speak Klingon and had to follow along with the subtitles. This gave more time for the things I cared about.

Namely, gobs of character development.

Stamets and Michael Burnham both got much more likeable. Tilly grew on me in kind of adorable ways. Saru got real about Burnham’s betrayal, and most importantly, Captain Lorca started to seem like more than a bit of a warmonger. He’s a soldier for sure, but you see notes of the explorer in him, too. And while he is A+ at manipulating people to get what he wants, what he wants right now is to protect his people from the Klingon threat and go home. Of everyone, Burnham, Stamets and Lorca ended up growing the most in terms of personality. Sometimes that meant a deeper understanding of themselves and their comrades and sometimes it meant getting to inject just a smidge of much-needed levity (the myriad ways Lorca does not give a damn about a space whale never ceased to make me laugh).

And it needs that levity.

There’s no denying that Discovery is a darker Trek. It’s way more violent than The Next Generation, and the fights are way more graphic than William Shatner rolling around and swinging his arms like a hammer. Betrayal, corruption and war are themes throughout season one, but so are love, redemption and heroism. And while season one and what I’ve seen of season two certainly show us an imperfect Starfleet, the ideals of Starfleet remain in the individuals. And that makes Discovery feel new and different without feeling wholly alien to the franchise.

Speaking of season two, as I write these words, it’s now April 15, I’m on episode 13 of 14, and I have been absolutely blown away by it. There’s definitely an argument to be made that season one doesn’t feel as much like Trek as people wanted (and indeed even though I ended up really liking it, there were some developments that I was really disappointed by), and season two makes up for that in a couple ways that I don’t want to spoil up here.

On rewatch, I’ve come to realize that I would recommend Star Trek Discovery to pretty much anyone, and for people who might have abandoned it or feel like it isn’t for them, I’d encourage waiting it out. I think you’ll be glad you did.

I was going to put a lot of spoilery thoughts beneath a cut, but 1) This is getting long already, and 2) I really want to go finish season two. So, stay tuned for Star Trek: Discovery Spoiler Talk.


Fall TV is here again


Photo by Erik Dungan from FreeImages

I almost didn’t make this post about what I’m planning to watch this TV season. Mostly because I couldn’t find a source I trusted for premiere dates, scheduling and comprehensiveness after I realized so many of the returning shows on the TV Guide roundup had blurbs that were just not at all accurate. And also, from what I did find, there just wasn’t a whole lot of new stuff that I was that interested. Or there was Prodigal Son, which I won’t watch because Fox has broken my heart my too many times and the cast isn’t quite Must-See enough for me to do that again.

But TV Guide has updated, the Fall TV season writ large kicks off today, and here’s what’s on my schedule (all times central). What are you watching?

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Let’s Talk About: Space shows

Earlier this year, I expressed interest in The Orville, Seth MacFarlane’s knock-off Star Trek show, and concern about it premiering during the same season as an actual new Star Trek series debuted. Did we need two new series about space-faring vessels and the crews that ran them?

Turns out, we kind of do. I’ve seen three episodes of each. Neither show is super-great-awesome, but neither is terrible, either. And while The Orville and Star Trek Discovery both owe their existence to the Trek franchise,  they also both scratch very different itches.

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Initial thoughts on Star Trek Discovery

I just finished the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery.

The short, unspoilery version: I had a lot of doubts after the first episode, because the main character was just super unlikeable, but it picked up a little in the second episode. Not enough for me to actually say I really liked it, but enough for me to want to keep trying it. Of course, the teaser for all the stuff to come did a much, much better job of enticing me. Because mostly? These episodes committed the sin of being deeply boring for at least 75 percent.

Spoilers from here on out.

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Star Trek Beyond is underwhelming in its excess

I should preface this review by saying that, after talking to other people, it’s possible some of my experience was negatively affected by the 3D conversion. My suggestion would be to see it in standard: What you gain in depth of field during the quiet moments of 3D (which really is quite something) isn’t worth what you lose overall.

But I can’t judge this movie on the experience other people had, only on the one I had, which is to say that Star Trek Beyond is a bunch of great character stuff surrounded by…I don’t even know what that mess was.

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2015 Media in Review: All the movies

It’s time to take a look at all the movies I watched in 2015, and for the first time since I started tracking, the numbers were so low I couldn’t justify not combining movies at the theater and movies streamed/on dvd. With that in mind, I’ve decided to do things a little differently this year, and make the bulk of this post Top 10 things I’m Glad I Watched in 2015.

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Movie Fights: Star Trek versus Star Wars

Screen Junkies did their Movie Fights show from Comic-Con last week, and the format was different, with each fighter given a specific side to argue. That’s not as interesting to me (as a fight-from-home player, at least), so I wasn’t going to do my own post. But one moment stood out to me, so I thought I’d mention it.

In Round 2, the question was “Which is better: Star Trek or Star Wars?” Jeremy Jahns, fighting on the side of Star Wars said:

“The good thing about the prequels…they’re so separated, You don’t have to look at the prequels if you look at Star Wars. Star Trek, every other movie is not good. So it’s interwoven into it … you have to count them..You have to count the shit with the good. Star Wars, you don’t have count the shit. you can just count the good.”

Shortly after making that argument, the logic of it was called out, and sadly, Jahns didn’t really have an answer, and it kind of looked like he was admitting pulling that answer out of the air. But I get it!

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