Netflix's Star Trek: Discovery appeals to new fans without losing its loyal Trekkies [Review]

Susan Ramsay |

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Star Trek: Discovery will please audiences who look for diversity in their shows.

Netflix have boldly gone into the Star Trek canon with all of the political correctness they can muster: Woman in charge (check). Racial diversity (check). Chinese named starship (check). All that aside, there is also plenty to entertain a whole new generation of viewers.

True to the franchise's legacy of reflecting modern times, Star Trek: Discovery addresses climate change, fascism, nationalism and racism all in the first two episodes.

Sonequa Martin-Green plays the main character, Michael Burnham, which is confusing because she’s a woman. Although she is human, she was raised by Vulcans which sets her up as an interesting character right from the start. She’s Mr Spock’s adopted sister, and this series’ story is set just before the original series (1966).

Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is the commander of the star ship USS Shenzhou, and does a great job of portraying a wise and mature leader.

Michelle Yeoh is a convincing and capable leader.
Photo: Netflix

But the thing most fans are talking about is the new look for the Klingons. It's unclear why it was necessary to really change their physical appearance that much. The changes might make sense and make them more disturbing as a foe, but it’s going to take a giant leap of logic for them to get to the appearance we’re more used to seeing.

On the upside, new depth has been added to the Klingon universe and it’s obvious a lot of thought went into enriching their culture and heritage to make them more solid characters than the mindless killers they are normally depicted as.

The editing of the series could benefit from smother transitions between scenes, which is signalled by a black screen for a second or two. It’s jarring and spoils the continuity any viewer is used to. Also, all the dialogue that's clearly there to "set the scene" for the audience just fells like a lot of mansplaining. But these are minor complaints.

Overall the first two episodes has set up an exciting storyline, but there’s a lot we have not seen and cannot guess at from the openers. We haven’t even seen the new ship, or met its commander or ... anything really. Basically, the first two episodes raise a lot of questions and, annoyingly, we’ll just have to wait for the answers as each new episode comes out every Monday.