You don’t have to be, that’s fine. This isn’t about why no one should like it, just why I don’t. If you like it, I’m happy for you, I don’t need convincing that I’m wrong.
I’ve been sitting with the finale of season 3 all weekend and it really stuck in my craw. For a lot of reasons, some specific to this season, most specific to the overall running of the show.
I think now, as I reflect on Discovery (And Picard) I’m just not into shows that can’t figure out their pacing. I came up with TOS, TNG, Voyager, DS9, Babylon 5, etc. All of them followed more or less, the monster of the week type trope within larger arcs. Voyager had Getting home, also avoiding Kazon, then avoiding Borg. DS9 had The Dominion War. They mixed other stories in, sometimes not even moving the main plot forward. It worked, really well.
The folks at CBS in charge of live-action Trek (Because Lower Decks gets it and is amazing) don’t seem to understand how to tell a story without, “Establish HUGE problem. Run full speed, dropping plot holes, starting then ignoring side plots, to get to, HUGE PROBLEM SOLVED BY END OF SEASON”
Heck, even Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda did it better (until the final two seasons), and of course Babylon Five executed this excellently (Also, except the last season, mostly). I don’t know why it’s so hard, plenty of other shows/series running right this moment, know how to tell a story and pace it. Star Trek is seemingly being run by idiots.
In No Particular Order, My Gripes
Is Discovery a Tardis? The final episode of season 3, as well as early shots in previous seasons, show that the Discovery is essentially hollow, full of droids that zip about doing things. In Season 3’s finale, it got outrageous. Those scenes served no purpose other than to show off CGI power. Oh, and of course, LENS FLARE.
The Michael Burnham show. So, She stopped being Vulcan? I mean we start with her being cool and collected, a human raised by Vulcans. We end with her being an emotional mess, disobeying orders left and right, making selfish and dangerous choices. And of course, ultimately being rewarded. Steadfast Saru is shown the door and she’s given command of the ship? Despite in the same season, being demoted, and nearly getting Star Fleet wiped out.
She breaks rules, then demands, “TRUST ME” when things get sticky. It stops being believable fast. Like after the first time fast.
The Michael Burnham Show, Part 2. Star Trek is great because of its ensembles. Each show has a command crew (plus a few rotating others) that work together to solve problems. Discovery is basically all about Burnham. The others are bumbling nobodies that get a spotlight here and there, a burst of an emotional arc (IF they’re lucky), etc. But at the end of the day, no one solves any problems, it’s always Burnham. Unless it’s an unimportant problem, she lets others have those I guess, and it takes all of them to do it.
Do we even care about starship design? I get that Star Fleet and the Federation have been through some shit, but the remains of the fleet are literally one, maybe two of the same design, with a half dozen or more designs? I get that CGI is cheap now, so it’s easy to just start getting creative, but it makes no sense. “Hey what if there was a ship shaped like a dinner plate with a forest on top?”
Of course it doesn’t matter because until the final episode Star Fleet mostly hides in a space bubble, doing nothing.
The McGuffin. Season 2’s (I stopped watching season one after 2 episodes) McGuffin was a mysterious spacetime defying “red angel” that Spock saw as a child, then stopped seeing for 40 odd years or so, then saw again later in life and went mad.? Oh, and the angel was Burnham’s mom, of course. We chase this thing around like the Scooby Gang, while fighting off tech that would give the TNG team a run for their money, yet somehow exists a hundred years before Enterprise D shows up, and vanishes without a trace before Kirk’s time.
Season 3 had the burn, a 120+ year mystery that nearly destroyed the Federation. The cause eludes the best Star Fleet has to offer. No one has come close to figuring it out. There are no clues. No one is even looking anymore. Don’t worry, Michael Burnham is on her way from the past to solve the problem in a few months (discounting the year she spent with Book).
Imagine if the Dominion War was one season. Or it Voyager got home at the end of season 1. Discovery seems to run as if the showrunners are terrified they’re going to be canceled.
Lazy storytelling. I can forgive a lot, but not this. The ship is bigger on the inside? Sure, whatever. All the above, OK I can probably push that to the back of my mind. But lazy storytelling, no. I skipped season 1 because I just couldn’t. I tried 2 and stuck with it, though it was tough. It was so astonishingly lazy, but I saw the set up for season 3 and was intrigued since we would be getting out from under the weight of being a prequel.
I did my best to watch Discovery not as a Star Trek show, but as a scifi show, with no baggage. Then the storytelling just went to shit.
Like I said, like Discovery, or don’t. This is me getting why I don’t like it off my chest. No judgment is implied here and I very much don’t need you to try and explain why the show is ok. I’m a grown man and understand that not all things need to make me happy if they make others happy. There’s plenty of other good scifi to watch, so I’ll do that.