Rotating Header Image

Star Trek

Star Trek: Discovery – Screw It…

This isn’t any sort of review on Star Trek Discovery, it’s just a straight out complaint about how ridiculous this whole scheduling streaming etc thing that’s going on with this show is.  So here’s the basic idea.  the new Star Trek series, is exclusive to CBS’s AllAccess Netflix clone.    I kept thinking this was some new deal CBS was pushing but apparently the service has been around for 3 years now.  News to me, shows how well it’s doing I suppose.  It also follows the Hulu Model, where there is a lower priced tier with ads and a high priced tier without ads.  CBS knows that Trek is really popular, or was at some point, so it’s something they are using to try to leverage success out of their dumb streaming service.

I guess I also heard wrong about Discovery being available on regular broadcast TV.  Last I had checked, it was supposed to be broadcast on regular TV weekly, then only available “on demand” with All Access.  I can deal with that, I have a DVR.  Except the DVR goes to crap when a show gets delayed, and thus gets cut off.  This is kind of an issue with cable boxes in general not being very dynamic in their scheduling, but it also feels kind of intentional.  Ok, no CBS doesn’t have control over football, apparently there was a game earlier in the day, but how often does a game NOT go over.

So what do I end up with?  half an episode of Star Trek and half an episode of some crap with Oprah having some sit down bitch fest about Trump.  And of course, it’s not available on demand.  How convenient.

The reality is, I’m irritated, but I probably really shouldn’t be.  I really haven’t cared much about Trek since Star Trek Voyager.  The new movies are all terrible.  Star Trek Discovery seems to be getting rather mixed reviews anyway.  I’m also not paying for CBS’s Netflix.  Maybe, MAYBE if it were ABC, and it had all of the Marvel stuff included, but a lot of that is already on Netflix.  CBS has very little programming I even care about, and I’m not paying monthly for one show.  I might get a free month once the entire season is available, like I plan to do for Hulu and Runaways.

Which kind of touches on another reason this whole thing is lame, they aren’t putting out all episodes at once Netflix style, they are still being released weekly.  This kind of shows how completely tone deaf CBS is on just WHY Netflix is popular.  People don’t want ads.  People want to binge watch and not wait weekly.  People want lots of good content.  One show, weekly, with ads?  I can find that on regular TV, and my DVR has a fast forward function.

The Orville – S01E01

So the obvious comparison here, is of course, Star Trek.  The story I’ve heard is that Seth MacFarlane has wanted to do a Star Trek series for a while but CBS has told him no, so instead, he’s not making The Orville, for Fox.  A better comparison is probably the movie Galaxy Quest.  Both are not quite parodies of Star Trek.  I say not quite because while both have their comedic elements and take their queues from Trek, both have their own little ideas and both have some level of trying to be serious behind them.

I kind of worry that this mixture may end up being the downfall of The Orville in the long run.  The Family Guy/Seth MacFarlane audience is going to expect a constant barrage of comedy, something that this show doesn’t really offer.


Yet is definitely the possibility here.  Personally, I hope the show steers more into the serious side.  I’m not a huge fan of the Star Trek reboot films, and I’m not sure what Star Trek Discovery will bring, but this show definitely feels more like the older Trek when things were a bit more fun and less super serious all the time.  I say “yet” because this first episode definitely reeks of classic Pilot Syndrome.  It doesn’t quite know what it wants to be and half the episode is devoted to introducing the cast with a kind of flimsy plot tacked onto back end.

I do have to say the resolution of the actual plot and threat was pretty clever and did a nice job of wrapping together several of the previous elements that had popped up during the show.

I also don’t mind the comedy.  I don’t watch a ton of comedy TV these days and have not watched anything from Seth MacFarlane in years but I do enjoy it.  The little side comments and commentary worked well, some of the more random gags, like the guy working on repairs in the window at the end of the episode, not so much.

The cast all were pretty enjoyable.  There’s definitely potential in each of them to have some fun chemistry and interaction.  Some of the effects felt a little off but that is probably a result of Pilot Syndrome as well as the lower budget comedy series nature of the show.

I think a lot of my ultimate enjoyment of this series depends on what directions it heads off into in the future.  I’m not sure the Trek formula, even as a parody, works too well if things remain too episodic.  It kind of needs some level of world building, that’s what makes it fantastical and enjoyable.  Without the backdrop of the universe, I’m not sure that a bunch of random jokes making fun of Sci-Fi really will work in the long run without getting repetitive.