Being a Star Trek show in 2018 is very tuff. Television is a very different beast than it was in the 60s or 90s. The happier days of exciting yet straightforward story-telling we saw in older series is just not enough. In the old days, you could apply your own CGI using the most powerful graphics system available – the human mind. But these day’s, it’s not enough.
It’s more than just CGI, of course.
Star Trek has to attract a new audience but also has to be true to its roots as it tries to hold on to its old audience. Attracting a new audience is very tricky indeed and has potential to be a complete disaster. Look at Star Trek Enterprise which struggled from the start in 2004 and lasted for only four seasons, and it’s most unpopular episode was arguably the last episode filmed.
But so far Star Trek Discovery has been trying pretty hard to keep audiences happy.
Discovery’s latest episode entitled “Despite Yourself” is directed by number 1 aka Jonathan Frakes, a Star Trek: TNG actor who portrayed the second in command of the Enterprise D in Star Trek: The Next Generation (80s/90s). Frakes did a fantastic job with the direction of the episode.
The episode overall had some questionable moments of violence, which let’s face it is entirely unnecessary in Star Trek storytelling of peace and exploration. However in 2018 shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones has told us not to relax too much with established characters – they don’t always survive!
“Despite Yourself” gives a wink back (wink forward if you are following the timelines correctly) to Star Trek The Original Series and Star Trek Deep Space Nine episodes. This kind of episode is known as a mirror universe episode. An accident has landed the ship in an alternative reality where their counterparts are generally much sexier, and the mild manner characters are more aggressive.
The idea of a mirror universe was first introduced in the original Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror”, which featured the brutal Terran Empire, run by humans and their Vulcan allies, in place of the United Federation of Planets
Worth a watch and if anything – It’s great to have Star Trek back on our screens. Star Trek Discovery currently airs on Netflix in Ireland.