It’s a good question. Indeed, an essential one; as a show with a legacy spanning half a century, Discovery needs to find an answer as to why it’s a Star Trek show at all – hopefully an answer that goes beyond the need to profit off a well-known franchise.
Does this episode offer an answer to that question? No, not yet. Undeniably, it posits a starting point, giving a diverse vision of Star Trek that entirely unlike any the show has offered before. With a black female lead, an Asian woman in the Captain’s chair, and the promise of a same-sex couple on the horizon, this is the show Star Trek has always claimed to be. Michael Burnham is exactly what the face of Star Trek should be in 2017, if not frankly earlier – with these characters, Star Trek: Discovery is at last able to realise the potential that the franchise has always offered but never fulfilled. It is difficult to overstate just how important this is, but it’s worth remarking on and emphasising it again, because Star Trek has finally joined the 21st Century.
Here’s the first of my reviews of Star Trek: Discovery – click the link to read the full review!
With hindsight, I don’t know exactly how, or even if, Star Trek: Discovery answered the question of what it meant to be Star Trek in 2017. It’s a difficult question, certainly – I’m not even sure I’d know what I’d want the answer to be. (Perhaps the answer was there and I just missed it; I’ll no doubt eventually rewatch the series and write about it again, so maybe I’ll divine the answer then.)