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Jim Muir
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 4:23am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Season 2.1 'Brother'

Having enjoyed season 1, I was really looking forward to this... but this opening episode leaves me uneasy. 

On the plus side:
- Captain Pike. Charismatic and engaging and instantly convincing as a seasoned Captain. He makes an excellent addition to the show. 
- Nice to see the Enterprise. But not too much of it.
- The cast. Everyone seems to have settled into their roles now and bounce comfortably off each other
- Central mystery of the glowing energy pulses... and angels(?) I do like a mystery.
- Abandoned the ridiculous Spore drive tech... for now at least.
- Production quality, as always excellent.

The down:
- Michael Burnham is still not that interesting or likeable. She's just... there. I feel she may be a better character without all the vulcan baggage she's been saddled with. Which leads me to...
- Spock. He's not even in it yet and I'm already sick of it. Flashbacks to young Spock, stroppy Spock, sibling rivalry with Spock, conversations about Spock. Oh, and he seems to know all about the mysterious pulses too. Seems (and I really hope it isnt) this season is going to be the Spock show. I mean, I'm a big fan of Spock, but not here, not like this.
- No Lorca. Hey, I miss the old psychopath.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 8:54pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I'm a little mixed about "Brother".   I certainly didn't hate it nor did I love it.   It's just kind of there.   

Plusses:

-Anson Mount really knocked it out of the park with his portrayal of Pike.   There's some odd camera angles though where Mount (who is 5'11") seems to look a lot shorter than he actually is -- you can see this in the scene where he steps aside to let Saru command the ship.  edit -- mind you, Doug Jones is a *really* tall dude wearing prosthetics that make him even taller... 

-That nice sly reference to "The Cage".  Refresh my memory -- Is this supposed to be pre-Cage or post-Cage Pike?

-Everything looked great, though I'm a bit confused about the wreckage of the medical ship looking like the inside of an abandonded steel mill.   I'm sure I missed something so I'll have to rewatch.

-Some really nice interesting archetecture in the Vulcan house scenes that looked genuinely alien.

-Those were some damn cool space suits.  So damn cool I think I can actually forgive they are way more advanced than the clunky EV suits you see a decade or two later in ST:TMP.  Using the voice command "helmet" to open and close your helmet seems counterproductive though because... erm... how do you talk to your colleages about your helmet malfunctioning without the computer opening (or closing) your helmet?  I'm sure the AI in the suits prevent you from doing something really stupid like opening your helmet in a vacuum but why even take the risk that a command could be misinterpreted?

-The story seems engaging enough.   It's interesting that Sarek doesn't stick around and Pike doesn't immediately volunteer info on the whereabouts of Spock.

Minuses:

-I have to keep reminding myself the original version of this episode and the following five were scrapped and reshot (in part, or in whole?) and the episodes we are seeing are subjectively "better" versions.   Makes you wonder what was so awful they left it on the cutting room floor.   Maybe some day we'll get to see these could-have-been versions like Genevieve Bujold's Janeway.

-Some rather obvious plot twists with lots of telegraphing.  Snarkypants Science Officer was just a little too smart-assed to make it to the end of the episode without biting it.  Of course Super Spock knows all about the Red Maguffins and leaves a clever hidden message in something from his childhood, and the amount of time they showed young Spock playing with the holo-thingy kind of pointed to it having some impact later on in the episode.

-I haven't decided if having the Enterprise sit out the entire Klingon war is a good thing or not.  A five year mission is one thing, but Kirk's five year mission didn't seem to take him all that far away from Klingon space and the Romulan Neutral Zone.   It just seems kind of... I dunno... disrespectful to the STAR TREK that has come before it.   At best it's a crappy way to prop up the importance of your current titular ship and crew by diminishing the status of another. 

-So that's it for the TOS-ish uniforms, one episode?  It almost seems like they shouldn't have bothered.

-The Pike DNA test scene with Tilly just came off as awkward.   I get why they did it, I just don't think they pulled it off.  TIlly seems to act a lot more unprofessional this season than the last, too.

-That awkward elevator scene doesn't work any better within the context of the show than it did on it's own as a trailer.  To be fair,  I don't think the scene would have worked in THE ORVILLE either. 

-STAR TREK needs four-letter curse words like a bicycle needs an effing fish (IMO). Thirty years ago a "double dumbass" and a discussion about a character's (offscreen) use of colourful metaphors worked amazingly well.  Implied profanity, just like implied horror movie violence and gore are far more effective because they are left up to the viewer's imagination.   Thirty years ago it was played for laughs.  Nowadays we seem to want our heroes to be 'more real' by being profane.  Times change, I guess.

-I have a very bad feeling (tm) where they are going with this strained relationship between Michael and Spock.   Please, please don't let it be a romantic/sexual relationship between step-siblings.   The character of Spock deserves better.  I'm not particularly fond of Michael, but the character deserves better too.   Seriously.   Just don't.   (besides, this is STAR TREK, not THE FLASH ;-)


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 21 January 2019 at 9:04pm
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 9:11pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Oh one other sorta-minus....

What was up with the Engineer-cum-Doctor and her experiments?  Some of that stuff would have made Josef Mengele blush.   Jeez.
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 9:22pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

No Lorca. Hey, I miss the old psychopath.”

LOL and I agree with your assessment. But as any Babylon 5 fan will tell you, the Red Angel has to be the “good” Lorca. :)
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 9:30pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Re: “That awkward elevator scene doesn't work any better within the context of the show than it did on it's own as a trailer.  To be fair,  I don't think the scene would have worked in THE ORVILLE either”

Agree with all of your other comments including (god forbid) step-sibling relationship.  As for “the sneeze” from elevator scene above, my immediate reaction was that this was either a hat tip or a boast to The Orville.


Edited by Victor Perez on 21 January 2019 at 9:31pm
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 10:26pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Rob, "The Cage" happens 2 years before DISCOVERY.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 24 January 2019 at 11:07pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

So, there are still problems with the show and plenty of nits to pick, but "New Eden" is the first episode of Discovery that just felt like an old school Star Trek episode to me.
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:20am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

<<"New Eden" is the first episode of Discovery that just felt like an old school Star Trek episode to me.">>

You beat me to it... came here to write exactly the same thing. :)

Too bad Pike didn't keep his uniform, btw...noticed on second viewing of last week that except for the color, the tunic had every single detail that the DISCO uniform had.  




Edited by Victor Perez on 25 January 2019 at 12:23am
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:25am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

<<Rob, "The Cage" happens 2 years before DISCOVERY.">>

How can that be? The Cage represents the end of Pike's career--but explicitly not the end of Pike--and that is what the fortune is foreshadowing. What am i missing? Are you just saying that the timeline is messed up?  Thanks in advance--totally confused.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 2:00am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

If I may, according to the canon timeline (as much as I may not like it), Pike served as Captain of the Enterprise from 2251 to 2263. The episode "The Cage" takes place in 2254. At this point, Pike is nowhere near the end of his career. Discovery, if memory serves, is set in 2256, two years later. Pike goes on to become a Fleet Captain and is injured in 2266 or thereabouts, exposed to Delta Rays while rescuing cadets aboard an outdated starship, "months" before the events shown in "The Menagerie."

There is plenty of unaccounted for time in Pike's career for what we're seeing in "Discovery."

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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Oh yikes thanks. I had a brainf*rt and even though the photons were streaming "The Cage," my brain was somehow thinking "The Menagerie."  Now if I could just find my keys. :)
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Not a problem, sir. I thought you might have been thinking of "The Menagerie," but I didn't want to presume. 

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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:18pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

You should 100% presume I am an idiot!!  Except that I think I am right about the identity of the Red Angel. Even an idiot is right once in a while.
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 8:13pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Getting back to the new episode, I absolutely loved it and think it was probably the greatest episode of Star Trek since the glory years of DS9. It definitely benefits from the sure hand of Jonathan Frakes as director, but it was so good all around. 

I enjoyed the first season overall but wish it had been a lot more like what the second season has been. SMG is a treasure, and Anson Mount has been terrific. 

Still nervous about Spock, though.
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 10:29pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Tyler, oh wow, totally agree. Thanks for pointing out who the director was, I missed that. Anson Mount was a brilliant choice for Pike. Interesting how DISCO Spock sounds more like DISCO Sarek more than classic Spock.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 11:45pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Yay for Pike, but a slow clap on more Spock. :^|
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 26 January 2019 at 3:48am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

This really felt like Star Trek. Loving Pike and how he is with the crew. Shaping up to be a lot better than Season 1
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 26 January 2019 at 8:36pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Yeah, have to agree here...   It felt like classic STAR TREK in it's structure and content -- moreso than anything else I've seen on the screen (small or large) in the last 20 years.

Notes:

*The timing of the impending 'disaster' on New Eden can't be coincidental.   It seemed more like the set up for a test for what I term 'sufficently advanced tech + society':
  • There's tempting bait provided in the form of the red energy bursts and a puzzling human/human-like settlement when you arrive -- basically an irresitible honeypot for the curious.
  • It would include only those with sufficiently advanced tech to get to New Eden in the first place (spore drive).   The standard warp drive of the time doesn't cut it unless you are lucky to be close to one of the REBs.
  • It would include those with sufficient tech and lateral thinking to avert the disaster.
  • Finally, you have a sociological morality test to pass:  If you don't have the tech/smarts to avert the disaster do you attempt to save the humans but disrupt the natrual progression of their society or do you stick to your rules and let them perish.   Even more interesting -- if you do have the tech/smarts to avert the disaster but do you still do nothing and let them be destroyed?   (there's also the scenario where non-humans may be forced to choose between saving or not saving those who are not of their kind)

*Further to the first point, the 'Red Angel' may actually be an advanced form of Von Neumann probe in reverse.   If you are able to pass the test (and in particular how you answer the sociological conundrum) then you would be considered sufficiently advanced to challenge whoever designed the test in the first place and thus are an enemy to be destroyed.  

*I am utterly amazed that Super Michael wasn't the one who had previously-unknown experience in a Luddite colony.   I hope they've decided to stop giving her new super powers and arcane knowledge/skills every episode because that started to get really tedious in Season 1.  

*We see yet more unprofessional behavior from Tilly.   I kind of found these parts to be the least enjoyable aspects of the episode.  Seriously, if someone keeps disobeying orders and doing things like dangerous experiments that could endanger the ship then they should be in the brig or confined to the sick bay with a security detail watching them.   I don't care if their crazy-ass behavior saved the day -- just because an unstable person is right one time doesn't set a precedent for them being correct or on the level in the future.   Yes, there are times where the rules need to be broken but if everything you do is a broken rule then you've eliminated the point of having rules and laws in the first place.

*Anson Mount again pulls off a great performance as Pike.  We get some more background detail on him too.

*It sounded to me like Ethan Peck was trying to imitate the vocal cadence of Leonary Nimoy but his voice doesn't have the same resonant bass frequencies.   It sounded odd.   I would rather if they were going to do this new portrayal of Spock they would let the actor bring their own inflection to the part rather than ape the performance of someone who previously played the part.


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 27 January 2019 at 10:01am
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 29 January 2019 at 7:25am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Moving posts from the original Season 1 thread here so they become their own discussion.
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 29 January 2019 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

 Rob Ocelot wrote:
-I haven't decided if having the Enterprise sit out the entire Klingon war is a good thing or not.  A five year mission is one thing, but Kirk's five year mission didn't seem to take him all that far away from Klingon space and the Romulan Neutral Zone.   It just seems kind of... I dunno... disrespectful to the STAR TREK that has come before it.   At best it's a crappy way to prop up the importance of your current titular ship and crew by diminishing the status of another.

I don't take it as being that nefarious.  DISCOVERY had to establish itself as its own thing: universe, characters and all.  To have introduced the Enterprise in the midst of that, say six or seven episodes into the first season, would have come with huge expectations that couldn't have possibly been met.  One thing I appreciated about Season 1 was the time it took to get to know the cast and the world they inhabited, nit picks and all, while setting up Pike as the cliffhanger at the end.  

Also, given the tech at the time in terms of Warp Drive, I totally bought into the Enterprise being far enough away that it was deemed "a last resort" to bring her into the fray.  Worked for me without thinking it was done as a slight to prop up the new series.


 QUOTE:
-I have a very bad feeling (tm) where they are going with this strained relationship between Michael and Spock.   Please, please don't let it be a romantic/sexual relationship between step-siblings.   The character of Spock deserves better.  I'm not particularly fond of Michael, but the character deserves better too.   Seriously.   Just don't.

Said the exact same thing to my wife last night after we watched the first two eps.  I'm a bigger fan of Michael than most here, but I don't want to revisit what I thought was by far the worst retcon in the Abrams reboot: the relationship between Spock and Uhura.  That's not Spock, certainly not any Spock I know.  As we see more of what's coming next, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that DISCOVERY is going to go down that path and it's one I'm decidedly not excited about.  
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 29 January 2019 at 7:59am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Have to agree with everyone here: Anson Mount as Pike is absolutely fantastic. I feel like he's the missing piece this series desperately needed in Season 1.  He works as a great bridge while bringing his own unique spin to the world.  One moment that highlights that for me is when he's in the ready room and asks why it's only standing room, to which Michael says that Lorca didn't encourage discussion.  Pike just naturally disagrees and says he wants input from his bridge crew.  Next episode we see an entirely new setting: cracked wood table surrounded by chairs and a more comfortable, inviting space. 

If CBS listens to the fans re: Pike I wouldn't be surprised to see he and his crew get a spinoff.  It's not like he can serve aboard the Discovery as Captain forever.  
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 29 January 2019 at 9:41am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

SMG was on CBS' The Talk the other day, and the ladies of the Talk specifically brought up the rumors about a Michael/Spock romance angle. SMG very adamantly shot down the rumor.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 29 January 2019 at 10:46am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Yeah, Bruce Greenwood is a fine actor, but he never seemed like the actual Pike character to me in the Kelvin movies.  He seemed like a new character who they gave the name 'Christopher Pike' as an Easter egg.  Anson Mount, on the other hand, is very clearly portraying the same character that Jeffrey Hunter played.

I'm with Matt re: a Pike's Enterprise spinoff.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 January 2019 at 2:33pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

...Pike’s Enterprise spinoff...

•••

That I might watch.

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 29 January 2019 at 4:12pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

So far, Mount pulls off a good Pike. I wish the Discovery had switched to the updated uniforms rather than Pike going to the outdated one still worn on it. 
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