Matt and Sean talk about the first two seasons of Star Trek Discovery. What it got right and what it got wrong … and boy did it get some things wrong.
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Welcome to Trek in Time, everybody. Where we’re watching every episode of Star Trek in chronological order. We’re also taking a look at the world at the time of original broadcast. So with Star Trek Discovery, we’re talking about 2018, 2019.
And we’re talking about seasons one and two of a story that. I do have to give a tip of the hat immediately to, it, it was an audacious setup for a series to say, we’re going to create a show around a ship that should be impossible from within Star Trek lore, but we’re going to try and make it work. And we’re also going to create an explanation as to why you’ve never heard of them before.
So. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today. And who are we? Well, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I’ve published some stuff for kids. I’ve published some stuff for adults, including my most recently published The Sinister Secrets of Singe, which is available in bookstores now. And with me as always is my brother, Matt.
He’s that Matt of Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. Matt, how are you today?
I’m doing great. It’s good. Uh, fall weekend. Uh, you know, like, Hey, you mentioned how we’re doing a recap, which is not our usual thing because on Friday night, a routine is Friday nights.
I watched the episode that we’re going to talk about on Sunday. And so Friday night came around. My wife said, you’re going to watch next episode of Star Trek. And I was like, yeah. And I was like, Oh wait, no, we’re not watching anything for this week. And I actually got a little sad, Sean.
Yeah. I had, I, my routine is I watch it Friday morning.
I get up. Early every day to work on some writing and Friday is my day of rest from the writing. So I get up at my usual time, but then I watch the episode for the week. And this week I got up early and got my coffee ready and then was like, wait a minute, no episode. And I’ll tell you this much, my coffee tasted salty that morning from all the tears.
Before we get into our main conversation about the show. We’d like to share some commentary from the comments from you listeners. So Matt, what have you found for us today? Yeah,
there’s some fun ones from the last episode, which was episode 120, uh, Such Sweet Sorrow. It was the two parter that wrapped up this portion of Discovery for us.
Uh, Dan Sims wrote, Let’s all hope we are all still here to finish this series. It’s sure going to be a while before we see it. Yes, it is. So, yes, Dan. Yes, Dan. It’s going to be a very long time at the rate we’re going to get to. Yeah.
Uh, and heaven help us if they create another series that fits in between this.
And where Discovery ended up, because if they keep making new shows in that gap, Yeah, we’re
never going to get to it.
Uh, then there was one from FloDefoe, The Time Loop works, sorry Matt. I was complaining about how the time loop didn’t make sense to me, and it was creating kind of a, kind of a, what’s the word I’m looking for? It was creating kind of a, what’s the word I’m looking for? Paradox. Paradox. Yeah, paradox. It was completely slipping my mind.
Uh, time paradox. Um, clearly, he doesn’t agree with me, he agrees with you on that. I still stand by my, eh, the timey wimey loopy stuff was so convoluted, it’s like, uh, don’t think about that, don’t think so. You have somebody on your camp, Sean. Yeah. The next one was from PaleGhost69. Uh, you know the worst part about Discovery versus other Star Treks?
It feels like it’s obviously written as opposed to a window into a better future. These episodes were really heavy on that effect. Also, WTF is up with the three minute goodbye when they haven’t even made the suit.
Yes. It’s like they’re making the suit and yet let’s pause and have a long goodbye in a hallway. It’s like, wait, what’s happening? You’re rushing because everything’s about to explode. You shouldn’t be talking about this
right now. Okay. So the way I was envisioning this conversation going was to. Two different, uh, veins.
One would be about the show’s two seasons. Uh, I think it’s worth talking about each season a little bit in isolation because this being the more contemporary streaming model of a long form story arc over a season. Each season does feel… Like it has its own goals and its own unique flavor as opposed to original Trek, which so episodic, everything stands alone and you can practically watch it out of order without it feeling, uh, like it’s impacted.
So the other side of the conversation I think is about the characters themselves and the direction of their story arcs individually. As opposed to the overriding season itself that gets a little blurred when we talk about Burnham because she is clearly the main character of the series. So just pulling back really far, taking a look at the concept of the program itself.
How do you feel that now that we’ve watched these two seasons, how do you feel about the overall goal of the show? The idea of like, let’s tell a story about this kind of show in this kind of place in this timeline of, of Trek. How do you feel about that as a goal? And how do you think about how
they carried it through?
I think that’s a tough question. Cause it’s, I I’m kind of torn because there’s the part of me that. Remembers watching it first time through and I wasn’t quite on board with what they were trying to do because of all the giant Question marks of why the hell are they doing all this stuff? At this point in time, which is so out of Canon.
How does this even make sense? But then you’re after watching it all and you’re looking back at it. It’s kind of like, oh, it’s really clever Like, tip of the hat, you guys were kind of audacious and it kind of worked at a big level, I think a high level for me, of the Spore Drive, why haven’t we heard about it, Spock has a sister, what the hell is that about?
All that kind of stuff in the end, to me, worked because of how they wrapped it all up at the end of season two. But for me, it was for season one, um, it’s that being torn around the audacious aspect of what they were doing at this point in time, because it felt like you could have done this in the far future.
It’s like, why were you doing
it now? Yeah, I agree. I think it’s a pretty, uh, audacious.
Flag to plant, um, to say you’re pre the original series, but here’s all this tech that you’ve never heard of. Even the look of the show is unavoidably contemporary. So you end up with a bridge that doesn’t look like it would naturally be a part of the same world where we see the original series. It doesn’t have the kind of…
And the original series, of course, is… Archaic because it is a 1960s television show. So there’s in the original series, there’s a sign on the wall that says red alert, and you can clearly see that it says red alert, but you only are supposed to read it when it’s illuminated. So. It’s things like that that are just like, it’s a 1960s TV show.
It’s made out of cardboard. We understand that. We’re supposed to be having fun watching this thing, not taking it too seriously. And then you end up with a contemporary show where you’re given people operating screens that are clearly holograms. They’re, they’re waving their hands, minority report style, and making computers respond and zoom in and details of stuff that go even beyond what next.
Next generation did. So you end up with this kind of anachronistic, wait a minute, the tech feels across the board, so much more advanced, but that’s all born of the fact that it’s a contemporary TV show. It’s trying to capture contemporary audiences, imaginations, and you don’t get there. By making things look like they’re made out of cardboard, so I can understand that and I can, I can, the visuals of the show, I can say, I understand why it looks different, feels different, because they have to make a show that’s going to capture an audience now.
Yes. As far as the lore side of it, the, within the Trek world of it all. I agree with you. It has, on first watch through, a lot of speed bumps that kept slowing me down and making me say, like, what, what, what is this? Should I just enjoy this as its own thing, as opposed to trying to enjoy it as Trek? What is going on?
And it’s on a second watch through that I think it works so much better, which is, I mean, the, the original show, Michael Chabon was a part of the, Uh, or Brian Fuller was a part of the original envisioning of this and Michael Chabon is involved in the Picard series. And I can’t help but feel like there’s a part of this that feels novelistic to me, like the idea of having the room within a novel to explore a lot of layers.
Within one plot. And so you end up with in a novel, the idea of rereadability, the idea of revisiting a novel again and again, and finding different things within it. It almost feels like they constructed this series with that same kind of depth to it. So that it would be rewatchable, almost inviting that it has to be rewatched in order to appreciate it in the right way.
And I guess that’s a blessing and a curse to me because the blessing is on the rewatch that we’ve just completed. I enjoyed this show so much more than I did originally. But, is that what you want from a program, that if it has to capture the audience on first go, how do they capture them? So
there’s easy answer to that question, Sean, is no, that’s not what you want.
It’s like, I think they really botched this because at a high level, it’s like you want something to be addictive the first time through. Think about like Breaking Bad was a huge hit, not because. People watched each episode two to three times before they got to love it. It was the first time through you were just like hooked that this show did not do that.
that’s a very good comparison. It’s
like, wow, it’s really good. It’s like they needed to go for that Breaking Bad, not for this more. Hey, this is a re watchable and re binge able show. It’s like, meh. If people don’t give a crap the first time through, nobody’s going to re watch it. I think
that’s a very good comparison because Breaking Bad, in my experience, was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to watching a novel where…
Yes. You felt like from start to finish, you were really enmeshed in one character’s journey and all the other characters who came in, to varying degrees, you also felt like you were seeing the depth in them as well, and that leads to kind of the next part of the conversation for me, which is, You mentioned Breaking Bad.
There are so many side characters who branch off of the main story and we learn details about those characters to varying degrees, but they all feel fully formed and fully fleshed. This show, to me, I think, Wasted some of their casting choices by creating characters who are not even characters for the first, I’d say, season and a half.
Yeah. Um, there are a number of people on the bridge who are effectively just lost in the haze and such a shame. They’re just set dressing. Yeah, they’re set dressing. Yeah. That’s all it is.
I mean, the fact that they have a character that looks like this crazy cyborg. Why are you not spending time with it? Oh, there’s this other character that’s this crazy looking lizard guy.
And like, okay, you barely do anything with them. Oh, there’s this other character that looks like has a brain for a head that like, we never found out what that was. It’s like, there’s all these very alien looking things, but they don’t do anything with them. And it’s kind of like the bar scene in star Wars.
It’s like, you’re there purely for set dressing and all the time and effort that went into the makeup of those people. And they could have had very interesting characters and gone into more depth than these people and had us care about the entire crew. They didn’t. It was, it was purely just here’s a handful of characters we want you to know about and the rest are just meaningless.
And they just kind of shortchanged them, which I think is a huge disservice because for something like you said, a novel, you get to know dozens of characters. It’s, that’s the whole point of something like that is you can get to know everybody.
Yeah. And I think the comparison to the, um, Cantina in Star Wars is a very good comparison there.
It’s amongst the characters that I wish we could have known more. They’re the ones who in Enterprise, everybody on the bridge more or less got at least one episode to tell their story. And in this, we end up getting one episode about Airiam, who is the cyborg. Um, it comes too late. I feel like if you were reconstructing this show today, you would have a season one episode in which you would get to know Airiam a lot better.
So you would understand her origins and what she is. Then later on, the sacrifice storyline has a lot more impact because we actually know who she is already. It’s a little bit like if in Star Trek Next Generation, you had had Data, but not a line uttered by Data for A full season. And then suddenly you had the episode, A Measure of a Man, where you have Picard having to defend Data’s right to be a life form.
And it would have felt completely manufactured. And it would have, the reason Measure of a Man works is because we as the audience have been watching Data. In every episode and hearing and seeing him in every episode up to this point. So we know he is an individual. We know he is a life form. Well, the stakes are not generated within the one episode and that’s what they do all too often.
And just my final comment about this season two ends with lots of shots of everybody. On the bridge, responding to the emotional call to action of the captain or a character on the bridge. So Saru says, we are Starfleet, this is what we do, and we get all these lingering shots on the bridge crew. By the end of Season 2, some of those bridge crew members have only had a handful of lines.
Yes, exactly. And we don’t know anything personal about them. It is not the same as seeing Kirk say to the bridge crew in, let’s say, Star Trek 4, the motion picture where they go back in time and seeing Kirk say, we’re going to do the impossible thing and getting the shot of Chekhov and Sulu and McCoy and Scotty.
It doesn’t feel the same. And I feel like the producers. At a certain point, forgot that they were dealing with a show that was only 10 episodes old, as opposed to 40 years. I think they learned lessons from the wrong places. It feels like they learned lessons from the later motion pictures, as opposed to the first seasons of Star Trek.
I was going to bring that up of, I’m blanking on his name. The gentleman who worked on Picard Season 3 that also worked on this, uh, Michael, is it Michael?
Chabon. Yeah, Chabon.
Yeah. Chabon. He is a huge fan of Next Generation. He’s like, he’s of our generation. And I think for like somebody my age, Next Generation is it because I grew up.
With that, I was like 13 years old when that was on TV. And so for me, that’s my jam. He’s a huge fan of Next Generation. And it feels to me like when you have producers like that and people who have their fingers deep into the arc, story arcs of these episodes, they have that deep affection and love that comes from all those years that it took Next Generation to get to that point, all those years that the original series took to get to that point.
And they’re trying to cheat. They’re trying to get us there in eight episodes, which you cannot do. It’s not possible. And yet they’re acting like they’ve done it. So we end up with a lot of telling, not showing. Like the whole. Relationship between Saru and Burnham and Saru is like, you’re my best friend.
And it’s like, since when? Like, we have never seen you two be buddy buddy. Not once. We’ve seen you show kind of grudging respect for each other, but then it’s just like, oh, now you’re best friends? Okay. Cause it’s convenient for this episode. So it came across as just completely short changing that understanding that they can’t have.
Those emotional beats that Next Generation had, that Deep Space Nine had, that all the other Star Trek shows had, because they spent years creating those bonds, and they were trying to have their cake and eat it too, but they, they couldn’t, and I, it’s really disappointing that they didn’t lean into what they had, because if they lean into what they had, they could have had much stronger connections, even if it was just a fewer characters, like you could have still shortchanged half the bridge crew, but then don’t make Half the bridge crew say, you know, we’re going to go to the future with you, Burnham.
It’s like, we don’t know half of you people that are standing on this bridge. It’s supposed to be this emotional moment that means. It’s very little because it’s like they haven’t earned it. So it’s like a good example to me would be like, uh, next generation you have Geordi LaForge, the blind, you know, navigator of the starship.
It’s like, oh, there’s a little ironic blind man driving the ship, but they gave him lines. They gave him moments. They gave him episodes in seasons one, two, three and beyond. So Geordi, the navigator of discovery. I still don’t know her name, Sean. Yeah. We’ve watched two seasons. If you ask me, what’s her name?
I could not tell you because it’s like, I don’t, I don’t know who she is. She barely spoke. She had lines, but she barely spoke. All I remember was she had, she was perfectly a hundred percent human in the beginning before the war. And then she got injured in the war. And the next time we saw her, she has those like cyborg, like implants around her eyes and stuff like that.
That’s it. That’s all I know about her. She navigates the ship, and she had some damage from the war, and she kind of blames Burnham a little bit for it, but then she loves Burnham, and she’s going to go to the future with her. It’s like, it’s just, I don’t understand why they thought they could get away with that aspect of the storytelling.
It, to me, it’s, it’s the biggest, uh, downside, and kind of like the unforgivable error in storytelling. To me, it feels like that’s where they completely botched it. And then you watch Picard Season 3, and all of those emotional beats, they do the same exact thing in that. With all these emotional beats with the characters, but guess what?
We all know them, and we love them, so they work! And like, Picard Season 3, it’s awesome! It’s like, for me, it was tugging on all those heartstrings, because he was paying off on what was built up from all the movies, and from like, seven years of episodes. It’s like, he was, he was able to kind of do the same exact thing, but it worked, only because we knew those characters.
It’s, it just, to me, it’s, it’s kind of like an unforgivable mistake that they made. It’s,
it’s, I think it’s born of, like we’ve both said, um, they picked up on the wrong part of history. They looked at the 40th anniversary of Star Trek and they were like, wow, look how people respond to these characters.
Instead of looking at the very early days of any of the programs that they’ve done before and saying, we had to do this with every series up to this point. But we don’t have to do it with Discovery. Like, I, it really is like an unforced error that’s just… Absolutely head scratching. Moving on from that kind of big picture, like, I want to take a very brief look at season one and season two, somewhat in isolation, just as far as like, what did you think about the story arc?
What did you think about what they were setting up for the, the thrust of the program at that point? I’m happy to start off just by throwing this out there, uh, for me, one of my favorite characters in all of this has been Gabriel Lorca, played by Jason Isaacs, and for me, one of the biggest gut punch moments was to realize just Oh, he’s not, first of all, he’s not who we thought he was, but he’s also not going to continue because he becomes effectively, he’s the villain.
So in season one, and we end up with seeing his death. And I found myself again and again and again, thinking, wow, what a, Not a missed opportunity for Discovery, but really kind of a craving on my part for a show in the Star Trek universe with a captain like him, who maybe even from his perspective, like, why is he the way he is?
Because he’s the Terran. He’s the mirror universe. Lorca. Part of me kind of craves that within Trek, and I don’t think Georgiou hits the same notes. There’s a different tone to her because of her character feels like she’s actually always hidden this tender side that’s lurking. And her connections to the people around her, she’s built up herself as an empress, as a Terran, that when it’s brought into the main universe, she’s able to release it a little bit and has a different connection to Burnham and is able to say things about like, my relationship to you is very complex, but I am effectively looking at you as a daughter.
And Lorca was different because Lorca was at his kernel. He was hiding the villainy as opposed to hiding the tender side. So I find myself thinking like, okay, not discovery, but why not within Trek? Why not within the confines of their massive mythological universe? A captain who like Lorca is from that other side.
Who, on this side, has figured out how to do what the mirror universe Kirk couldn’t do. Hide the fact that he’s a beast, and make it work within this universe. For me, the first season is extremely compelling, big picture wise. I don’t think we have to get into any kind of nitty gritty, this episode’s better than that episode.
I like a lot of what happens with it. It took the rewatch to really appreciate a lot of it. But for me, one of the things that comes out of it with a kind of like a sour taste is I didn’t like the ending for Lorca. I wanted something of that to continue.
Yeah. Well, for me, it’s like, I’m glad they killed Lorca because what they set up with him is like his hidden villainy.
Some of his villainy, Sean, was reprehensible. Like he was a very despicable character. He wasn’t even a character that you could, at the end, in my opinion, Kind of like because he was they almost kind of alluded that he’s almost like a pedophile like the way he goes after these young Women absolutely and grooms them and it was like, okay, I can’t root for anybody like that period So it’s like at that point to me he was dead.
So when they killed them, I was like good riddance Yes, that was deliberate. They wanted you to hate him by the end. So when he dies, you’re kind of like doing the little yay so I get where you’re coming from, but The stuff that got revealed by the end, it was kind of like, no, they had to kill him. To be
clear, I wasn’t, I wasn’t as, I’m not aspiring for Lorca, but just that type of character.
Yes. That kind of, that type of character. The, for me, that’s the wolf in the sheep’s clothing. Effectively for me,
that’s Georgiou. I get why you said that she doesn’t fit the bill. ’cause her villainy is on the surface and it’s her tender side that’s hidden. But for me, that’s the likable character. That’s the character that you’re drawn to.
She’s a bad guy you love. And where Lorca was a bad guy you’re supposed to hate. And so for me, Georgiou does fit the bill of what you’re talking about because she’s delicious. Like, she is fantastic. Like, she’s the part that I just love in the show. Whenever she’s on the screen, I’m like, yeah, more Georgiou, please, more Georgiou.
I really have a lot of fun with her. Um, and We’re not going to get to this for 15, 000 years, but like the future stuff, she’s in the future and she’s part of that crew. And some of the stuff she does in the future is freaking awesome. So it’s like, there’s some really cool stuff coming from her character.
Uh, the one thing I would say for, for me, for season one, Is, um, I did not, I guess I get, there’s no other way to say this, I don’t like the Mirror Universe. I hate the Mirror Universe. I don’t like it whenever there’s an episode in the Mirror Universe, it’s like, I tolerate it. If there’s multiple episodes in the Mirror Universe, I’m like, eye rolling my eyes and be like, when’s this going to be over?
I did that for Enterprise. When they had multiple episodes in the Mirror Universe, and for this, it was basically half a season, or a third of a season in the Mirror Universe, and I was kind of like, oh my god, just get us out of here. It’s like, do one episode and get that, get the hell out of Dodge. Um, it’s because to me, it’s a tiring…
It’s tiring. It’s like small doses. It works, but in larger doses, it’s just overstaying its welcome. So for me, I enjoyed the first part of the season one a lot because it was this mystery, this mystery box. They were slowly unfolding. It’s like, what’s the deal with Lorca? He’s like shooting stuff in his eyeballs so he can like look into bright lights.
It’s like, what the hell is that about? And what’s with his like, Cookie fetish and like standing up and like his weird, everything is dark and gloomy. It’s like he, he’s, there’s something off about him and you’re trying to put your finger on it. I, I love that. I love the aspect of, there’s something wrong with this man.
What is it? Uh, but, but when they revealed it in the third, the, the, the last third of the show with the whole mirror universe, I was just kinda like, okay, they can have done this in one episode. He didn’t need to have . Yeah. Entire. We’re stuck here for three or four
and, and to, to. Finish, uh, a part of my comment that I think I inadvertently left unspoken.
My hope for a character like that in Trek isn’t even tied to it having to be a mirror universe captain. Like, I just like the idea of like, like, the, the, uh, Next Generation episode where Picard is captured, your favorite episode. There were four lights! Uh, the captain is replaced. You know, Picard is replaced for a brief period of days by Ronnie Cox and Ronnie Cox shows up and immediately is like I prefer more decorum on the bridge.
I would prefer that, Troy, you wear your uniform the way you’re supposed to be. Changing up ship schedules. Really doing stuff on the ship that made a lot of people say, like, what the heck is this guy doing? Who does he think he is? And he thought he was captain. That’s who he thought he was. Like, I think that there’s room within the Trek universe for that kind of character.
And we haven’t really ever truly seen it. There were moments in the first season of The Next Generation where Picard, they clearly wrote Picard to be a kind of by the book guy. And there was going to be the swashbuckler Riker standing to his side. And I think that, born of the nature of how the show was shot, Patrick Stewart has said that he learned how to have fun on a TV show by Letting his normal barriers be broken down by the other cast members, that they wouldn’t let him be the, this is a job stickler sort of guy.
And I think that we see kind of the undoing of Picard inadvertently through the next generation. We see the loosening up and it became in fact spoken on the show of Picard had always kept himself at a bit of a distance from his crews, but with this crew it’s different. He’s made a family. So we have seen Star Trek kind of.
hint at that kind of like cantankerous older captain, but we haven’t actually seen it play out. And I, for an audience member, I’m like, I would kind of like to see that play out. That seems interesting to me. Um,
I would actually say Picard season three kind of does that. Interesting. There’s a, there’s a captain on the show that is phenomenal.
He is a captain like you’ve never seen, and he is fantastic. Uh, So, so much, so much to pick apart there, but yeah, it’s, it’s, I think that is a misstep. I think your, your point is valid. I get what you’re getting at with that Lorca type of character. They had something they could have done there, um, and they could do more of, uh, but to say Picard season three, oh, it does that.
Well, it doesn’t. Sort of. Sort of. Um, yeah. It’s not, not to the extent you’re talking about, but yeah.
So anyway, back to like season one as a whole, I think that for me, the Lorca aspect was the, my favorite part. I didn’t quite enjoy, well, I enjoyed the episodes and enjoyed the story overall. Part of me was also like, oh, it’s too bad that he turns out to be this guy.
He turns out to be this villain as opposed to being a captain who like it’s a very different show to have Lorca be the mirror universe captain, have him go back into the mirror of universe and say, I’ve learned lessons. I’ve, I’ve changed who I am. As you pointed out, you would have to undo a lot of the backstory that they gave him.
He is a rapist. He is a pedophile. A terrible, despicable character. Indefensible. And like, but a different crafted show might have done something different with a character to say, like, I’m actually from here, but I’ve changed. And now I’m going to fight the Empress. Um, but they gave that part of the storyline to Georgiou.
So you have, uh, Michelle Yeoh playing a wonderful array of characters from the very first episode. She is so masterful in presenting a captain you would love to keep watching. And then they kill her. Mm hmm. So they end up replacing her with the Empress, who seems like the character, uh, very different. Very different from the original depiction.
Overall, I feel like I somewhat agree with you about the Mirror Universe. The thing that, for me, for the Mirror Universe is it is a constant reminder that you’re watching a written program because they constantly have to then bring in the elements that you’re accustomed to. So that it can wink, wink, wink at you, the audience member about how, Oh, you know, that person who’s, you know, Tilly is such a goofball, but in this universe, she’s Killy.
And I’m part of me is like, okay, I, I, I get it. And I can enjoy the fun of that. And I also know it’s a TV show and I’m supposed to be having fun, but there’s a certain point where
that’s what PaleGhost69 brought up. And his comment was that it feels
written. It feels written. And it feels like the Mirror Universe is a constant reminder of it’s being written.
And for me, the brilliance of the very first Mirror episode is that it is one and done. They meet alternate universe versions of themselves and then they go back to the main universe. Every time you revisit the Mirror Universe, the fact that it has to keep almost lockstep with the main universe starts to then feel like, okay, again, like, again, we have, like, it’s, it’s to have the Mirror Universe Archer be what he was with the same Mirror Universe crew that he had.
And that leads to the Mirror Universe Discovery crew, which leads to the Mirror Universe, like, every step along the way. It’s like everything is staying close enough to be recognizable. And that just is a constant reminder that it’s a program as opposed to feeling immersive. So I agree with you three episodes, maybe a little too much, but the overall gist of the first season, I really have to tip my hat to it being kind of an audacious thing.
To spend that much time in the Mirror universe, to create a ship that does what it, what this one does, to suggest that there’s technology that’s beyond anything we’ve seen in any Trek show, including the ones that take place in the future, is audacious. And they made it work for me by the end of the first season.
I was like, that worked. It made sense. Um, moving on to the second season, I think they push it even further because now they’re toying with things that we know intimately. It’s one thing to say, you know, before there was the Enterprise, there was a ship that could travel even faster. It’s another thing to say, you know, that character Spock, he had a sister.
Oh, and there’s Captain Pike. He’s going to be a main character in the series. And like, suddenly all these things that we know intimately. are back in front of us and they’re doing things that we’re not quite sure fit. So big picture, do you think they fit? Do you think they made it all work? Oh yeah,
For me, I like season two way more than season one. Um, and then how they, here’s the, here’s what I was complaining about season one. Like we’ve talked about this where it’s like, you have characters you don’t know. People who’ve never spoken lines, but yet they’re supposed to be these really tight, familial characters with each other.
And it’s like, but they don’t speak. And we never, as a viewer, we don’t know who they are. They’ve kind of done a little cheat code here because they pulled in Spock. We all know Spock. We all love Spock. Spock is a beloved character. Pike, we don’t know that well, but we know of Pike. So it’s like, we know kind of what he is.
So you’re bringing in characters. that we already have some kind of affinity towards in some fashion. So it’s like that instant familial, Oh yeah, it’s Spock, kind of a thing that you get. So it’s kind of a great way. That’s probably, I think part of the reason why I like season two better is because it’s tying into that lore that we’re all familiar with.
So you can do those cheat codes. You can do those fast forward storytelling techniques that Discovery keeps doing, but it kind of works because you’re working with stuff we already know. So you don’t have to waste time setting that stuff up because it’s already been set up. So it’s like, it’s kind of for me why season two worked better is that of those familial bonds that were there and then playing with the, what do you mean Spock has a sister?
It’s like, we have to watch season two to find out. So it’s, it’s one of those. Aspects of it that I really enjoyed.
Yeah, they benefited from not having to spend episodes getting us up to speed. They could rely on the backstory that we’re familiar with. That includes not only Spock, but Sarek, Amanda. We’re able to see Amanda in a different light because we’ve only seen her very, very briefly.
We’ve seen Sarek a handful of times, including in the next generation. So, here we have, uh, the ability to, like, oh, I already get, I get it. Like, I know who these characters are. I know the bad blood between Spock and his father. Oh, I’m introduced to a sister, and you’re learning why they never talk about her.
Which is… I thought well done and heartbreaking. Like it’s this like, Oh, so they don’t talk about her in open because it hurts too much and they can’t reveal it because it would reveal the existence of the discovery, which is technology they aren’t supposed to talk about. So, um, all those layers feel like they’re.
Already built in the moment we see those characters emerge. Another thing that you get from doing what they did by bringing in existing characters, particularly pike, we know his destiny and I think that they did a really smart thing in leaning into his destiny as a thing of foresight for him. By putting the series between the original pilot and the original series, they gave themselves the opportunity to say.
He’s been to a planet where these beings can do all this stuff and trick you, but he actually did fall in love and we’re given visions of the future and he’s given visions of the future. So he knows where he’s going to end up. And that to me was very, very smart. It was, it gives a backstory to the character that you feel like you’re already up and running.
So you get a sense of his energy going forward. And I think that the original series pilot. of the angry somewhat burnt out and then they brought him into this and he seems a little more at ease when he’s brought into this so you’re given a like okay he’s matured a little bit from where he was He’s come to terms with some of those questions, but then they started revealing that he still has those things lurking.
And they did it really smart. And by the time you get to the vision of the future, you now have a tension in the character running from, I’m burnt out, I may not be able to continue forward, to I’m willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the many. And that as a character arc is, those are two opposite poles.
And that’s something that we haven’t really seen. Uh, to go back to like, have we seen captains like this before? We haven’t seen this exact arc before. The character who knows where they’re headed. And we know as viewers. That it’s not far away. So it puts a kind of ticking clock in the background for him as a character.
Uh, I really, really like that. Um, and that’s very Pike specific, that commentary, but on the whole, the entire season, I felt like season two, I agree with you, I like it more than I like season one, there’s a lot in season one, but I do like, and in season two. There are some elements that are completely born of the speed of the storytelling that they’re trapped in, that are the weak spots.
I think that everything that happens as a major plot point of season two could work beautifully and better if the season was twice as long. And that’s just the nature of modern, of modern streaming television production. How they envision where they put the money. These shows cost a lot. I understand that.
Uh, there’s a part of me that wonders, like, do they have to cost quite so much? You know, they cost what they cost, I guess. Um, with twice as many episodes, you have opportunities to have a couple of episodes about the side characters. You have a couple of moments where you can let a bridge be built between moments like Burnham’s mother is burnt out and angry.
And yet still trying to protect her daughter and you have moments that are on screen that don’t quite answer how did both of those sides work. Instead, we have turning point moments of 180 degree change, but not enough of a buildup, not enough of a connection between the characters.
I kind of disagree with you on like, you absolutely need more episodes for this stuff to play out because they could have just very easily come up with a.
A formula that every episode has to, every episode’s B plotline has to incorporate two non central characters. Always. It doesn’t matter who those are, always has to include two. And it’s like over the course of eight episodes, you’d end up being able to cover, you know, a dozen different characters or eight different characters just from the B plotlines of pulling them in.
So you could add the navigator woman that I can’t remember her name. She could have been in, you know. 3 or 4 different episodes as a B character. She wasn’t. Because almost all the time it was the A plotline is Burnham and Stamets or Burnham and Spock and the B plotline is, is Pike and somebody else. So it was like, it was all of their plotlines typically revolved around, you know, 4 or 5 characters.
And that was pretty much it, and it was rare that the more fringe characters got brought in at all. So it’s like, to me, it’s not necessarily that you would necessarily need double the episodes. I just think if they had approached it in a slightly different way. Burnham, since she’s the main character, she could have been in every single A plot line.
Or maybe there was an episode where she was in the B plotline and like, Pike was the A plotline. You could have messed around with it, but at the same time, if she’s the B plotline, you have the Navigator with her, you have Airiam with her, you have somebody with her that’s in that B group. Um, and you could have very easily over the course of one to two seasons built up every single character that’s on that bridge.
They just didn’t do it.
I, I, uh, I find myself disagreeing with you because of the number of major plot lines that they had set up and they didn’t have enough room because of the limited number of episodes. So we have, as far as major, like through lines of the show, we have Pike and his entire experience.
We have Burnham, we have Saru, we have Stamets. Who brings in. Culber. And we have Tilly kind of like bouncing around in the background amongst all of these different parts. We have Jet Reno show up. She does something similar. She’s just kind of in there as a side character in some of those moments, but not getting any main through line for her own character development.
With as many as Pike, Burnham, Saru, Stamets, Culber. In a 14 episode season, I don’t know how many A B plotlines they could actually weave in to do what we seem to be asking for, which is give us more time for the development of side characters and also relationships. And when I say relationships, I don’t even necessarily mean between…
The other characters on the bridge as much as make some of the moments of the plot work because there are sometimes moments where they’re having a conversation with somebody on an alien planet that suddenly everything has to turn on a dime simply because they don’t have enough time to explore the idea.
And that for me is the Let me, let me
clarify an example of what I’m talking about. And this is why I say it would be easy. And of course that’s easy for me to say because I’m didn’t write the show. But you have Most of the time when there was stuff happening in the engineering room where it was like they’re trying to work on some big science solution, it was always almost always Stamets and Tilly that were down there or Stamets and Jett and Tilly.
It was like those kind of group that was kind of that grouping that typically ended up being together in that room. Why wasn’t there in one of these plot ones where they’re trying to find a solution to some kind of problem that Airiam was down there helping them out because her, her ability to process information was going to help Stamets get to a solution faster.
That’s what I’m talking about. You don’t need to have Airiam through the entire episode. It’s literally like, give her like two scenes. Down there where she’s helping them to kind of come up with a solution. And then she could have one or two lines where we learn just a little bit about her. It’s like, it’s the same thing for the navigator.
It’s like, they’re flying into this nebula or they’re flying into this thing where they’re not going to be able to do things. And it’s like, of course, she’d be obvious or somebody has to take a shuttle. You know, there were episodes where they were on the shuttle. It’s like, why is she not pilot piloting the shuttle?
It’s like, it’s like having Mayweather in the Enterprise. It’s like, Mayweather, Mayweather was like the pilot of the ship and then he’d get on the shuttle and pilot them to the surface. It’s like, why wasn’t she doing that? Because then she could have been in scenes on the shuttle. So it’s, that’s kind of what I’m getting at.
It’s, you could have very easily integrated these characters into existing scenes that they already had and just give this other character a couple lines of dialogue, but they never even bothered to do that. That’s that’s my big complaint and where they could have kind of made up for
that. How did you feel about the overall like thrust of the storyline in season two?
For me, season two is a better season, but it has some of the same problems that season one had in the form of felt a little at sea a little bit, even though it wasn’t. And then by the time everything started to feel like it was firming up, it was almost over, and there was a little bit of a rush to conclusions.
I’m thinking mainly about control as a nemesis. I do not like, like, the AI aspect of this. I thought they… mishandled quite a bit. There was so many ways that they could have planted things earlier in the season, even if they had not thought about doing this during season one, which would have been the best time to plant these seeds.
And I’m a big fan of if you’re doing something long form, plant some seeds for yourself, plant some ideas early to give yourself terrain to travel. Later, uh, in the form of maybe a character or an element in a very early episode that you don’t explore so that you have it there in your hip pocket when you need it later.
I think control was the big one for me. The fact that they reveal. Almost like the Spore Drive. Oh yeah, the Federation uses this AI to make decisions, to help make decisions. Like, what? Like, that to me came out of left field, and then it turns into this nefarious enemy that doesn’t even operate along rules that make sense.
We’ve talked about last time, uh, the destruction of the Leland entity that has all these nanites in it. Somehow it derails all of Control’s ability to control ships. Despite the fact that like, it’s a decentralized network. Um, so things like that, that just don’t feel like, okay, they didn’t chew on this long enough.
They didn’t think about it long enough. They didn’t plant the ideas early enough. They didn’t follow through the thrust of it enough, but still I feel like season two is better. So it’s like,
Oh, season two is way better.
So for me, it’s like no doubt in my mind. Yeah. So how do you feel about, do you agree with me that it’s better despite the fact that some of its inner workings are clunky?
Yeah, I think the, I think the, if I was going to boil it down to what the issue is, it’s like a problem with pacing. It’s like they didn’t understand how to pace the show. Yeah. Like they tried to keep the secret of control, um, the mystery around that too long. And they kept it to the, like, if you were going to break the season up into a three act structure where like the first few episodes are act one.
The middle few were Act 2 and then the final three are Act 3. They kept the secret of control all the way to the Act 3 of the season. Yeah, that was a huge mistake. No, you should have made that the big revelation at the end of Act 1, beginning of Act 2. Yeah. And then you would have had two thirds of the season where they’re dealing with this thing that they know is control.
Yeah. And then it’s like… The, the, the big arc then is the big mystery is the reveal about the Red Angel at the end of Act 2. So it’s like instead they kind of did the reveal of the Red Angel and the control and all that kind of stuff almost at the same time and it was like dude, just space it out. You can have them kind of revealed along the way.
So it ended up, this is one of the complaints. It’s actually been part of Star Trek for a long time. I remember there’s always been complaints about like Next Generation about how like in a 45 minute episode, they spend 40 minutes building this tension up and then like it’s wrapped up in three minutes.
That’s kind of what this season felt like to me. It felt like they were building all this tension up over the course of the season. And then in just like two episodes, it’s like, boom, it’s done where they could have. Built tension, had a little bit of a payoff, built, new tension that had a payoff. It’s like they could have paced it in a different way.
Um, so yeah, I do agree with you that even des, despite the downsides that they, they repeated some of the same problems from season one. It was a better season. Because of what I talked about before, in my opinion, it’s the characters we kind of know that they’re building off of. They’re building off of lore we understand and the, some of the mystery boxes around the, how the hell does this exist?
And we’ve never heard of it. So it’s like, all of that is what I think elevates this higher than it would have been without it. Um, because they did repeat some of the same problems.
Yeah, I agree with all of that. And I think it’s, you know, one of the, one of the things that stands out to me. And we talked about this previously, the ideas of how do you build tension, the Hitchcockian model of you let the audience know that there’s a ticking time bomb and you let the people on screen chatter about what they’re going to get at the grocery store, and you as an audience member are losing your mind because you’re like, there’s a bomb under the kitchen table.
Why are you just sitting there talking? But what they did here was show the monstrosity of a villain looming. And just let that looming shadow exist from episode to episode to episode, and we know they’re a danger, like, that’s, you’re not giving us something to create tension, you’re trying to create surprise, and.
Withholding information from an audience, withholding control, withholding who the Red Angel is. Um, if those things, if that withholding is born of a logic within the show, like the discovery of who the Red Angel is. Oh, it must be my mother. My mother is time traveling. Oh wait, it’s not my mother, it’s me.
Like, I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is the withholding of… Like dropping the idea of control into the episode the way they did, telegraphed immediately like, Oh, we’ve been dealing with control this entire time. And you didn’t like, this isn’t coming organically out of the world that you’ve created.
This is being dropped in now because now you realize you need a boogeyman. And that’s a form of, if you’re withholding from the audience so that you can reveal the shocking reality later, you’re lying to your audience. Your storytelling is lying. And that, to me, is a huge failure in fiction. You should be able to tell the story honestly to your audience and have them piece together the reality of what you’re leading to along with you.
Not be surprised by you because ultimately, if that’s what you’re doing, then your ending could just be, and then there was a massive explosion and they all died at the end. You might as well just like conclude it in that way every single time. So to wrap up, just real quickly, rapid fire thoughts about characters and it’s, I want you to share thoughts on a character from whatever perspective makes the most sense to you.
Like. You like a character because of the overall arc. You like a character because of the performance. You like a character because of fill in the blank, whatever your thought about the character is, and we’ll just run through a list of some of the main characters from the show. So we’ll start with Burnham.
How did you feel about Burnham as a character in both these seasons?
I thought it was really cool what they did with her, with the, how she started the war, her whole mutiny thing, the way they played with the mutiny, because she thought what she was doing right was right, but it came from emotional baggage, and then later she basically had to do another mutiny, but this time it actually was being done from a place of logic.
And the right thing to do. And so then by season two, it’s like, I really enjoyed how they weaved her character over the course of the couple of seasons that we’ve seen her so far. She’s clearly the strongest characters, the one they’ve put the most thought into, and it came across that way to me. I really did like the way she was established on top of which I think the actress is phenomenal.
I think she’s great in this role. I love her. Um, it’s not to say her performances are perfect. And I think it’s more of a directing, not the acting. There were episodes where it was a little melodramatic, which was not her fault. It was clearly the writing and the directing that pushed it that direction.
Uh, but her, she’s very capable and she’s very good. And her character, I thought they did a good job, uh, over the course of the two seasons of the book.
I agree. I like Sonequa Martin Green very, very much in the, in the role. I think she does a terrific job. I think the character’s origin as the mutineer and exploring all of that, and as you said, the first season being about realizing I’ve got emotional baggage, despite the fact that I’ve been trying so hard to hide it, is a terrific story arc for the first season.
And then the second arc of my logic is leading me to a place I don’t want to go. is a great second season. So I think that both of those seasons, uh, the dynamics all of that, I love the playing off of Lorca, the fact that she was falling into trust with him, and then having that all swept away, having to reassess what does it mean to view Georgiou as a model for me and realizing I’m starting to feel that way about this Empress character.
I think that’s all very nice. Her relationship with Pike, her development of trust of Saru, the relationship with Saru, despite the fact that it has that one moment of fast forward. It goes through like eight episodes in one five minute sequence of like, you’re like a sister to me. But once they get to that point, despite the fact that felt like bull crap to get there from that point on, I do like their relationship very much.
I think that, I think that there’s a, a nice pairing there. And I think that they did something tremendous. In really, in the second season, absolutely for me, earning the relationship with Spock. And by the end of the second season, I was totally on board with what they were doing with both of those characters, right up to him in the shuttle saying something in Vulcan and then she responds, I love you too.
For me, it was just like, holy cow, they got me there. They took me. So when Matt and I complained about the writing, it’s not that the writers can’t write. It’s, they’re putting emphasis on one part and they’re letting another part kind of like simmer in the background because they’re not focused on that because they’re making a TV show.
It’s hard. It’s, it’s the under simmered stuff that Matt and I are like, Oh, if only they’d put more energy there, but where they did put their energy, I think by and large, they really do knock it out of the park. And so for, for me, Burnham is a great character to have most of the show resting on. It really does make sense to have her as the lead through all of that.
Uh, Doug Jones as Saru, I’ll start with my response to this. I think Saru is a fantastic character, top to bottom. I don’t think that there were many missteps with him. The evolution of Who he was as a, at a starting point, revealing, uh, background subtly throughout the, the season. Um, revealing the relationship that he has as a refugee, effectively.
Uh, came out of one particular episode, but by the time they were revealing it, I was like, I think they’ve earned this. I think they got there in the right way. And… There is that fast forward moment with Burnham by the time we’re getting to that episode, we’re also now seeing his quarters, we’re seeing how he lives, his connection to his home world, his connection to his family.
I think once you kind of look past the fast forward moment. And you see where they’re taking this character with his evolution and the dropping away of the literally like the scales from his eyes. He sees the world in a different way now. By the time we get to the end of the second season and he is co captaining and he is, he is so commendable in how he approaches problems and can inspire others around him.
Uh, I felt like this is, he’s a, he’s a character for the ages for me, but he just really came out of nowhere. And Doug Jones. What can you say about Doug Jones? Put the man in any kind of makeup and he makes you really want to see more of him. It’s the weirdest relationship between a camera and an actor.
It’s like Andy Serkis. You don’t need to see him to know it’s him. He’s really, really good. Yeah,
Saru for me is one of my favorite characters on the entire show. A new species we’ve never heard of, revealing the backstory in a very nice subtle way, the evolution of like how he went from this most fearful character to a very confident character, how he’s grown.
Um, but for me, the thing I would want to highlight is just the performance. Doug Jones is like, One of the most physical actors that’s out there right now. And I mean, what I mean by that is he embodies a character where it’s just the way he’s like a dancer, the way he moves and he, the way he stands, his, his posture, his movements, the way he walks.
He comes up with every character I’ve ever seen him do in every movie he’s ever been in. He’s radically different. Each time, because he doesn’t just come up with the way the character talks, he comes up with the way the character stands and moves, opens the door, like whatever it is, it’s like the guy is like He embodies a character the way most actors do not.
And so it’s like because of that, he’s instantly like unique, stands out. And for him, he’s like the most alien creature on the ship. And yet we have other characters that are like literally a lizard man with like eyes that like sideways. But yet Doug Jones, who’s just wearing some makeup. And some facial stuff.
He embodies more of an alien type of creature than anybody else in the ship. And it’s not CG effects. It’s just this dude, the way he walks and sways his arms behind him and does stuff. It’s like everything about him. It’s like in this show. This is top notch. Love him as
a character. Moving on now to Shehzad Lateef as Voq slash Ash Tyler.
What were your feelings about him as a character? Oh, I’m
so torn on this guy. Yeah. I, I like him and hate him at the same time. Uh, he’s basically a big whiny baby and I don’t like that aspect of that. He’s a big whiny baby, uh, for most of the, the series. Um, For somebody that’s half Klingon, or, like, his personality is half Klingon, because of what he is, um, you would expect him to be…
A little more, I don’t know, I don’t know, not, like, God, he blubbers so much, you know what I mean? Like, the whole, he’s just a big blubbery baby. I did not like that aspect of this character, uh, but there was a lot of potential there for this character. So there were moments and episodes where it was really cool because I’ve, you’ve never seen a character like this before.
Somebody who is both Klingon and both not Klingon. Where the two halves of him are warring and the way that they, the thing that opens up for storytelling to explore that I thought was really interesting and unique and kind of fun. But to me, he was a character that kind of overstayed his welcome because at a certain point it felt like they just stopped evolving him.
And it was like, for me, it was like season one, there was a lot of evolution to him. And then the beginning of season two, there was a little bit, and then he just kind of like flatlined from that point forward. Um, and so for me, they kind of like, I don’t know if it was the writers kind of shortchanging him, but I don’t think it was the actor’s fault.
I think it was just the character they wrote. Um, he just, for me was one that I could, if you left him out of the show, I probably wouldn’t miss him. Unfortunately.
Yeah. I think that there were opportunities missed with him. Um, and like you said, he’s, he’s a unique character. Shehzad Lateef, I think does a good job with what he’s given.
Yes, he does. He, he said of the third of the, of the second season, he felt like he was playing a third character that was analogous to Bruce Banner and the Hulk in Marvel’s movies of, where it does. Uh, Ash, Begin, where does Voq begin? And at a certain point, none of that matters because this is who they are.
And I think if that had been highlighted and if he had not been just there to come in and you call him a whiny baby, um, for lack of a better analogy, I’ll say like he shows up and basically cries a bit. And there’s a bit of pouting. If there had been some quieter moments with the character, and this goes back again to my thing about, like, a couple of more episodes, a little more time to explore some of this.
Uh, some sequences where you see, what if we had seen a scene with Ash practicing on the ship a Klingon ceremony? For himself, some sort of ceremonial thing that a Klingon would do. Something we’re familiar with Worf having done. Something that would for us say like, Oh, that’s, that’s his Klingon nature.
Right. We don’t really get that. We just constantly get. Ash walking into the room and people don’t like Ash, but we aren’t really given a reason to like his Klingon side. And if we had seen more of that of him doing some kind of, there might’ve been some little prayer ceremony that he does on the regular for his son, who he knows he’ll never see again.
So given an opportunity for like. Having Burnham visit his quarters and he is kneeling in prayer with a blade and he’s making himself bleed into a bowl and lighting a flame and she’s like, what the hell are you doing? And he’s like, this is for my son. And without any deeper explanation, suddenly we’ve got a side of him that we aren’t seeing otherwise and we aren’t really given that opportunity.
So I really
like critiques. Because what I was going to say was, every time he’s on screen, 90 percent of the time, he’s only there as that soap opera love interest for Burnham. He’s there as the love interest. And he’s rarely given a time of his own. And like the episode where they had to give up his son, the whole thing with L’Rell, that episode was like all him and his backstory.
It was really interesting. But it’s like, Every other time we were seeing him, it was like him giving googly eyes to Burnham across the bridge or her giving him googly eyes or him standing in a room blubbering because he loves her so much. It was just, it was just all of that just again and again and again.
He was like a two dimensional character because of how they
treated him. Like, I want to talk now about two characters at the same time, Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets and Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber. I want to talk to them, not because neither of them is a fully fledged character in their own right, but because they are set up as a married pair.
And I think that their performances and the characters themselves, that is pushed to the forefront a lot in an attempt to like remind us. In some cases, the battle is not cosmic in nature. Sometimes it’s intensely personal, and it goes beyond what Burnham and Saru are doing, which is navigating, like, how do the two of us operate as colleagues when there’s some bad blood between us?
Very different to say that, versus we have a relationship. It is built on love and trust, and one of us has ripped it away from the other one or damaged the other one to the point where we no longer know if it exists. So… Here, between these two characters, I think these are two tremendous actors, both of whom have very strong Broadway credentials.
These are two people who do not struggle to create gravitas and pathos and connection with the audience. And unfortunately for Wilson Cruz, he’s given the short end of the stick in the first season. He is really not utilized much at all. I have a feeling there was some conversation in the background of like, you gotta give us some time, because we’re going to shoot these scenes with you.
They’re not going to seem like much, but trust us, this character has an interesting arc in the future. And by the time they get there, then you see, okay, this is why they cast a Wilson Cruz. as Hugh Culber, because the stuff he has to do post rescue from the mycelial network is intense. And he does a masterful job.
And I think both he and Anthony Rapp are probably two of the finer actors in the program. And they do incredibly subtle work with their characters. And I like the arc for both characters very much. I think Hugh Culber’s character of I’m the long suffering, Spouse, who finally has had enough because of my own experience and it breaks me out of a routine, which was sad to begin with, and Stamets has the I’m the Mad Genius storyline that turns into maybe every goal I’ve been setting in front of myself has been for nothing because I am effectively isolating myself to the point where what does it matter what I’ve created if I don’t have Any enjoyment or connection with another person.
So those two storylines for me are very intertwined, reflect each other really well. The two actors are both at top of their game. And I think that on the whole, I have no notes as far as like, how do you improve these other than if the show had. Explored any other avenues into their relationship, I think I probably would have been very happy with that.
Okay. So the performance is zero complaints. Like I said. Zero notes. Um, but I do have complaints about Hugh. And it’s, it’s. About me? A gang.
I am Hugh. Oh man.
I am Hugh. No Hugh or me? Uh. Hugh. Uh, he is so shortchanged in season one. Yep. The two storylines of these two characters, they’re kind of like crisscrossing. So in season two, there’s more Hugh character development than there is Stamets, because Hugh’s the one that’s going through the massive trauma of what he’s recovering from.
Stamets is already established. And so Stamets is still getting lots of screen time as a character, but he’s kind of like in the backseat as far as character development for season two. And he was in the front seat. The problem with that is if you’re looking at these two seasons, we get to know Stamets really well across those two seasons because we got to know him from the very beginning to the very end.
And he’s been part of this as one of the main characters of the show. Hugh, for the first season, was like what I was complaining about with, uh, the blubbering baby. It’s like he’s kind of the same thing. It was always like googly eyes between these two characters. He’s the love interest. He’s like the wife that is shortchanged in a movie.
It’s like he was always just there as like something for Stamets to reflect off of. He wasn’t there. As himself, and it wasn’t until season two that he became a full fledged character and was no longer just a reflection. So because of that, we only really have gotten to know him in one season where Stamets had two.
And because of that, of those two characters, which are united, he’s the one that’s really been shortchanged. And that part of it bothers me because he is such a good actor and there’s a lot of potential there. And again, we’re not going to get to the next season of this show for 15, 000 years. But when we finally do get there, again, the Doctor has some really awesome stuff coming up in future seasons.
Like they like do stuff with him, like really cool stuff. He has moments to shine and be central pivotal characters in different storylines. But we didn’t get there because they kind of shortchanged him in season one. So for me, that kind of is weird. Where I would complain, the one place I would give a note is, I know what they were doing, because like as you described it, they were setting this up very deliberately for these two characters and how they were going to evolve with the two seasons and all that kind of stuff, but it kind of like really did shortchange Hugh’s character.
And if I was that actor, I’d be like, You’d be chomping at the bit of like, come on, give me something to do here, like for the first season. It’s like, to kind of put, put a great actor on the bench like that for an entire season is like, whoa, what are you, what were you doing? Come on
guys. Talking now about Mary Weissman as Sylvia Tilly.
This is a character who very clearly was meant to be like us in the program. Like, this is, she’s. Very low on the, on the totem pole, and she is coming across with a, Oh gosh, Oh gee, sort of energy from the very beginning, which doesn’t really burn out by the end of season two. She still has a bit of the, Oh gosh, oh gee, I talk too much sort of.
Response. And this is a character who, for me, rises and falls on performance. And Mary Weissman, I think, is terrific in the show. I think that this is a character who, with a different performance, could have been a Wesley Crusher. Style character where people would say like, oh, get what? Like
And that’s not
just take, take a, take a big steaming dump on him.
character is the problem, not the actor. I think that they could, I think that in Next Generation Fine will Wheaton, he’s fine. His character could have had a very different arc and that’s on the writers. That’s absolutely on the writers and on the production itself. Um, my point in comparing the two is that somehow the wide eyed experience of Wesley Crusher rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, whereas here it doesn’t.
And I wonder if that’s born of the writing for his character was I’m somehow wiser than everybody here. And yeah, have things beyond everybody here and
yeah, it’s a, it’s, it, that doesn’t work for a child. She’s not a child. And I think that’s part of the reason why it
works better. And she is depicted as being, uh, incredibly brilliant.
There are moments where it’s depicted in the performance, uh, from the writing where Stamets Kind of like, Oh yeah, you’re here for a reason. There’s, you’re obviously something a step above. So her brilliant breakthroughs, her understanding of things going on, doesn’t rub people the wrong way. Despite the fact she’s also filling that, Oh gosh, gee Willikers sort of role.
For me, Like I said, it rises and falls with the performance, and I think she does a great job
with this character. She’s able to weave between comic relief and dramatic moments in an effortless way. Um, I can’t give her higher praise. It’s like, I love this actress. It’s the kind of thing where an actor can take what’s good writing and elevate it.
And I think she’s one of those people that can take good writing and make it excellent. So I think a lot of her character falls on her shoulders. I would say the same thing for Doug Jones. I think Both of them elevated their character beyond what it was on the page, and I just love her. I love the comic relief was always just like pinpoint, pinpoint accurate, really good comic timing.
Bring a smile to your face and the next scene she’s making you tear up or she’s having a moment of wisdom that you didn’t expect to come from a character like her. It’s like the way she, her performance worked. It was
really well done. I think that the Things about the other bridge crew that we would have to say, we’ve already said more time, more exposure, build them as characters.
That would have been better than what we ended up with. So that’s unfortunate. Um, and then as far as other major characters, we have Tig Notaro as Jet Reno. She’s very seldom used. I like the performance. I like the character, but there’s not a lot there to talk about yet. Uh, the jumping off point for us for next week, uh, when we return to reviewing episodes as we move on to Strange New Worlds, we have two characters here that we don’t need to talk about now, but we have Anson Mount as Christopher Pike, we have Ethan Peck as Spock.
We will be talking about them. in such detail moving forward that we don’t need to visit them now. I will just say, like them both, like them both very much. And I’m looking forward to jumping into Strange New Worlds. Before we end this conversation, Matt, uh, anything you wanted to say to wrap up? About our conversation around these first two seasons of Discovery or anything that you wanted to share about what’s coming up in your main channel?
Well, um, both of those just really quickly. My just final thought about this show is it’s kind of a beautiful hot mess. You know what I mean? It’s like the first Star Trek we’ve had in forever and it’s not perfect and you can see them learning from their mistakes between season one and season two and trying to correct that and get more on track.
Um, I think you see that kind of come to its full culmination by going to Strange New Worlds. You can totally see how they learned from Discovery, what formula they wanted to go after and how they nail it in that show. So I’m looking forward to talking about that on my, uh, main YouTube channel on Undecided.
Um, I have an episode coming out around this time about a exploration about the future of batteries around… Swapping out from graphite as part of a battery to silicon and how much of a dramatic improvement that that can bring. And that we’re about to kind of start to see a flood of these new batteries hitting the market over the course of the next year.
And what it means, like what, what does that mean for the future of energy storage? It’s a, it’s a really cool technology. I’m really curious to see how this stuff pans out. So check out that episode.
Sounds interesting. So next time we will be talking about Strange New Worlds, episode one, which will be Strange New Worlds.
That’s the title of the show and the episode. So please, if you are joining along on our rewatch. Get ready for that one and jump into the comments, weigh in on this discussion. Do you disagree or agree with anything we’ve had to say? Do you have a completely different take on the effectiveness of season one or season two, or the way the performances hit you?
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