TV Party Tonight! #98

TV Party Tonight! #98

Monday, 02 August 2021

Star Trek: Discovery
Season 3

Boy I sure do love Star Trek, but over the years it’s becoming evident that Star Trek doesn’t necessarily love me back. And I’m talking about Discovery here. It’s not that Discovery isn’t “real Star Trek,” it’s just that it hasn’t been able to find a model and stick to it. And I’m being very generous here. It’s like a relationship with an ex-girlfriend right now, where it started out looking great, but slowly I found myself unattracted to it, and now I just hate-watch it.

Because they keep screwing up the formula, I had higher hopes for Disco Season 3, when it was set 1000 years in the future. It pulled itself out of the constraints of its original setting: stuck chronologically 10 years or so before the Original Series. What would the writers do with the new setting? Sadly, very little. Discovery is still a severely flawed series, both as a Star Trek series or as something completely unrelated to the franchise. It’s pretty obvious now that the writers are boycotting their own show. Or maybe someone is making them do it.

Before I go through just SOME of the issues with this series and season in particular, let’s talk about what this season does well:

  • There is some phenomenal casting in Star Trek Discovery. Since the beginning, Sonequa Martin-Green has shown herself to be a skilled and versatile actor. And, Doug Jones plays the role of Saru with dignity and grace. For every terrible character in Disco (and there are several), it’s good to focus on these two actors as the leads of the series to anchor the frequent nonsense that’s going on elsewhere.
  • Props to the writers for finally finding something to do with Culber. As a character who was just “there” in previous seasons, Culber has found an actual function here, involving himself in away missions, and making observations that lead to informed decisions. It’s wonderful seeing him actually have a personality.
  • The new villain Osyrra, played by Janet Kidder is the only villain in Disco’s history who has worked so far. Not just a cartoonish threat, Osyrra consistently remains capable, cunning, smart, and unamused by the “antics” of the Discovery crew, which are, frankly, more annoying than charming.

And the bad? Well…

  • Discovery still suffers from, mainly, terrible characters delivering incredibly unrealistic and clunky dialogue. Where to start? Well, Tilly, one of the most frustrating characters in TV history, is played like the person in the office who has no verbal tact or etiquette yet still gets rewarded because everyone in the office considers them a pet. She should be the Milton of Office Space, and yet she gets “promoted” to number two and everyone loves it. Philippa Georgiou is such an obvious threat to the existence of the crew, yet they find her charming and a rascal, and her entire dialogue consists of quips and snarky remarks, which Michelle Yeoh can barely deliver (through no fault of her own). Watch her lips and you’ll notice how often her lines are ADRed. Her presence in any conversation is distracting and adds nothing to the plot. I’d love a cut of Season three where Georgiou is completelyedited out.
  • It’s obvious now more than ever that the show is very much in love with its crew and will constantly put them in hostile scenarios with either the enemy or (strangely) even the federation itself where they need to prove themselves. They will never fail and there will be no consequences for their actions, no matter how reckless, because they are pure in morals and motivation. This makes for very uninteresting adventures.
  • The show refuses to let their heroes have any real personalities and seems to be rewriting them every episode. Stamets is jealous and pompous one episode and warm and accepting the next. Michael is noble and generous in one episode and selfish and reckless the next. And, of course, everyone is arrogant. Tilly is insecure and wavering one episode, and suddenly making all the decisions for the bridge crew the next without anyone questioning her. It’s truly impossible to get a handle on who anyone really is on the show.

Of course I will keep watching Disco in the hopes that it will find its way. I’ve come too far at this point. Maybe the writers can start giving the audience some challenges instead of playing all the hits. Miracles do happen.

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