When I was a kid, I watched the first reruns of the original “Star Trek” and was completely engaged by the adventure and adrenaline-fueled fun. I connected with this family of characters and it locked me in to follow an ever expanding universe of Star Trek stories and characters for the next several decades.
I’ve continued to watch Star Trek throughout my life. All of the series, movies, different timelines and the recent iterations on Paramount+.
And Star Trek has been evolving along the way.
Finding Balance in “Discovery”
“Star Trek: Discovery” currently represents the new norm, and the writers have clearly worked hard to boldly go where no Trek has gone before. They even introduced four-letter words into the scripts. I’m still stinging from the first time they dropped the F-bomb (although I’m finally getting used to the occasional salty language).
“Discovery” has paid significant attention to presenting us with a truly diverse set of characters. DE&I themes run deep throughout. Bravo.
“Discovery” also focuses on feelings. A lot.
Kirk never needed to talk through how he felt. But these Star Trek characters do. Yes, it’s more realistic, but it sometimes slows the pace of the show. You’ve just got to get used to it.
Speaking of feelings, “Discovery’s” scripts often point out how much the crew love each other. There’s lots of hugging and crying.
When this started, I wanted the stories to first spend more time with the secondary characters. I didn’t really know them. So I didn’t really buy all of the intimacy that writers were suddenly pushing into the scripts.
In this fourth season, that dynamic has finally been properly balanced, and the love/respect/admiration factor is more believable.
Fully Embracing the Cliffhanger
I’m also pleased with another important factor that “Discovery” is finally getting right.
It’s the classic Trek cliffhanger moment that gets you so excited for the next scene or episode.
A great example is the pre opening-credits scene that sets up the entire episode. The original series did it so well, and I’m really happy that the writers have paid more attention to that device.
I always love it when the image suddenly cuts to black, I hear the opening notes of the Star Trek theme, and then I get that tingle of adrenaline. Or maybe you catch your mouth curling up into a little smile. That’s when you want to say, “Thank you.”
“Star Trek: Discovery” has finally landed in the back half of its fourth season.
The second season of “Star Trek: Picard” is also a blast to watch. As I write this, “Picard” is only two episodes in, but this series clearly holds all of the cards. It packs together the best of the more evolved style of Star Trek storytelling with classic Next Generation Trek. It feels so good to be going back to this future.
More Jean-Luc, played by Patrick Stewart, and Seven, played by Jeri Ryan. More Borg queen, this time played by Annie Wersching. More Q (John de Lancie) and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg).
More classic starship designs, with a crazy new Stargazer. More classic uniforms and less developed transporters. The sounds and special effects are all so familiar. And they tap into little pleasure nodes throughout my brain that haven’t been activated for so many years.
This entire series has a huge impact. How can it not? I know this family. This Star Trek. These characters. And the new characters are well defined. You don’t have to wait four seasons to really get to know them.
If you’re a Star Trek fan, resistance to “Picard” is futile.
Star Trek Happiness
I’ve stuck with Star Trek across the decades like a dedicated football fan. Some years are better than others, but you don’t give up, because you just know the next year is going to be a winning season.
We’ve got two winning Star Trek seasons going on right now, simultaneously.
Fans aren’t always looking for something entirely different. Sometimes what’s old can be new again. And when the new finally aligns with what we already love, then you’re going to have happy Trekkies.
Yes, they’ve finally made it so.