“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
Well, that’s not really true. More like: “It was the best of times. It was not so bad, at times.”
Once more, we are bravely going where no Star Trek series has gone before. This is not our universe, of course. Real life would be more like “It was the the worst of times. It was the ‘what the fuck is going on? This can’t possibly be real! Would somebody please wake me up’?” … of times.
This is the latest, current run of the Star Trek universe. Our world has been without a Star Trek series for a few years. I think we are always supposed to have at least one original on the air. I’m pretty sure it’s a law, but, for some reason, we have been forced into reruns. But times, they are a’changin’ …
Now, we have two and both are bravely going wherever they are sent.
STAR TREK DISCOVERY – CBS All Access (streaming)
In this variation, the main character is not the captain, but the first officer. She’s a human raised on Vulcan by Spock’s parents. Its main story line is about the First Federation vs. Klingon war. It was shot using a huge budget. The actors are all pretty good. The show is … okay. I mean, it’s not bad. It’s good…ish.
But it has a few problems.
First, the Klingons only sort of look like Klingons. For one thing they are all bald.
Klingons are usually pretty hairy.
They’re also incredibly racist. They believe in racial purity. Every one else in the universe is inferior. And they are all victims of every other species in the galaxy. You know, like Trump supporters.
ALL the Klingon’s dialog is in Klingon. Actual Klingon. With subtitles in English!
Now, I’m as big a Star Trek nerd as anybody out there. I know there are Klingon camps you can go to learn the Klingon language. The bible has been translated into Klingon. People have Klingon weddings.
But even for me, this is one nerd-step over the line.
Second, the ship has developed some kind of biologic warp drive that takes you instantly anywhere. Basically, it’s folding space. But what happened to it later? In all the other Star Trek shows? Where did it go? Voyager sure as hell could have used something like that. They were stuck in the other half of the galaxy for seven years — not including syndication.
Black Alerts? WTF? The show’s creators say “they are taking liberties with the show.” Liberties? Did any of them actually watch the other shows? The final, really big problem is that it only airs online through CBS All Access. You have pay for it. Like Netflix or Hulu.
The show is very dark, but still … it’s OK. Maybe the problem is that none of, or at least, very few of the people involved in all the other Star Trek series are working on the show. That’s because they are working the other show.
THE ORVILLE – FOX Network
The Orville takes place in a very Star “Trek-ish” universe. It’s not exactly Star Trek, but really, it is.
Seth McFarland is Captain of the Planetary Union science ship, The Orville. He wasn’t the first choice for command, but the Planetary Union has over 3000 ships to man, so he got the job anyway. The show is funny. Very funny. It’s also serious.
The helm officer’s main concern is whether or not he can drink soda when he’s on duty.
Here’s a line of dialogue from one of the shows. They find a giant ship where the people on board don’t know they are on a giant ship. When they try to contact one of them, he shoots at them and they shoot him. Well, they actually just stun him. They then run into his son.
CAPTAIN: We mean you no harm.
DOCTOR: Well, you did just shoot his Dad.
CAPTAIN: Other than shooting your Dad, we mean you no harm.
The plots are really, really good. Great science fiction. They do what the original Star Trek did. Take current events and put a spin on them. In this case usually a funny spin. This is the Star Trek that needed to be made. The one about the ship with a crew of screw-ups, who smoke pot, drink a lot, love to gossip, and yet, always get the job done.
I like this show so much I usually watch each episode twice. I never do that. Maybe because it reminds me of a series I did years ago (that Marilyn created) called Sterling Bronson, Space Engineer! Why that name? Mostly because we knew if we called it any variation of Star Trek, we’d get sued. And it was an inside joke.
Excuse me, Trekker. Trekkers hate being called Trekkies. NOTE: You know how you can tell if someone is a Trekkie? They insist on being called Trekkers. But I digress.
If you’re a serious fan check out Discovery, but if you really want to see a great Star Trek series, it’s The Orville.