This may be the month of the start of the movie blockbuster season and the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, but today all attention is on TV. Or rather the CBS All Access streaming service. That’s because the first teaser trailer for this fall’s Star Trek: Discovery has been released.
First impressions: The Star Trek: Discovery trailer is actually good. It grabs our attention and makes us want to find out more about its premise. There are some quibbles which will be covered in a bit, but the overall look is impressive though it is a bit too reminiscent of J.J. Abrams’ version of Star Trek and less like the retro look of the original Star Trek. But these days, TV shows have to impress with out-of-this world special effects and production values. So though, we love the rubber alien suits and cardboard sets of the original Star Trek, to make it these days, Trek had to upgrade and even outdo the shows from The Next Generation era. The result is a cinema-quality look to the show.
Speaking of those versions of Star Trek, the start of the trailer calls to mind Star Trek: Enterprise with its announcement that Star Trek: Discovery takes place ten years before the original Star Trek. But thankfully, the Star Trek: Discovery trailer switches gears and introduces us to brave new worlds and beautifully rendered space shots. More importantly we’re introduced to the show’s main character, First Officer Michael Burnham, played by former cast member of The Walking Dead, Sonequa Martin-Green. She looks terrific in her blue Starfleet uniform and she gives the impression that she is a Starfleet officer. Then again by the trailer’s tone we have to wonder if that is her true identity. This trailer gave her a mysterious presence, there were even times when we have to wonder if she has some Vulcan heritage though that’s unlikely.
From the bits and pieces revealed, the Discovery ship itself looks much better than in that cheap-looking teaser released last year. It must be pointed out that the full shot we see of a starship early in the trailer is probably a different ship. The aliens look cool except for the Klingons. Their redesign lacks the fearsome and imposing quality of the original Klingons with their ridged foreheads and body armor. This was a perfect look for the Klingons that was ageless. Why mess with perfection? Hopefully the other alien races won’t be as butchered in their designs.
But nitpicking aside, it is beyond great that Star Trek is back on TV, er, home media where it belongs with episodes to truly explore themes, characters and the infinite worlds and races of Star Trek. Now as to whether or not Star Trek: Discovery will be worth spending extra money on to stream is another question.
As a long time Trek fan (since the 80s) I was actually blown away by this trailer. The visuals are astounding and the superior production design makes this look more like a movie than a series, which is great. There’s hints at some intriguing characterisation and it just ‘feels’ like classic era Trek with a modern twist.
True that the sets are more reminiscent of the J.J. Abrams/Kelvin films but I actually like it quite a lot…sure, the purist within me would love to see a more retro classic Trek look but it wouldn’t really resonate with modern viewers – many of who will likely be seeing Trek on tv for the first time when Discovery launches.
Also, I’m pretty sure the other ship glimpsed is the Shenzhou which is being captained by Michelle Yeoh’s character. All in all I’m very excited and hopefully there’ll be another trailer nearer to release that gives us a better look at the Discovery herself along with Jason Issacs and other members of the principal cast.
Indeed! Just the fact that this takes place in the “Prime” timeline was enough to get me interested. I agree that the ship we saw coming out of the clouds was the Shenzhou and these shots were taken from the pilot alone probably before Issacs joined the show. But it’s so exciting to finally have a new Trek show after over a decade.