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Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek Discovery: Season Two

I have a secret…although I profess my love for Star Trek, I have had a hard time following this new series, and have only very recently finished the second season although the finale came out months ago. In theory, I DO like this series, as I’ve shared in the posts I wrote about the beginning of Season One and then when I finished it. But each season I’ve had some time constraints that popped up mid-season and I had to put my watching on hold, and then I struggled with finishing the final episodes.

The first season was atypical to what most Star Trek series have been like, and I came to think of it as more Star Trek-inspired than truly a Trek show. With a mid-season break, the creators seemed to do a bit of course correction and tried to hew the last few episodes of season one towards established canon. Captain Pike, the predecessor of the Enterprise’s Captain Kirk, was introduced and it seemed as if season two might try to actually be more Treky. They even cast a new Spock to be introduced as a pivotal character as the foster brother to Michael Burnham, the lead of this series. I truly enjoyed the four Short Treks that started off the season as teasers for the regular episodes to come. But alas, season two went off the rails with an extremely convoluted storyline.

*Spoiler alert* At the end of season one, Discovery meets up with Enterprise that had been on a faraway mission and sat out the recent war with the Klingons. With Captain Lorca no longer with the ship, Captain Pike is sent over to captain the USS Discovery as the USS Enterprise is docked for repairs. This sets us up to meet a young Spock who is in the midst of a mental breakdown and not anything like what we expect from TOS. Spock and Michael are brother and sister as Spock’s parents took in an orphaned Michael as a child and their connection is forced and ridiculous. There is a huge absurd storyline about a Red Angel visiting at pivotal battles to help and it ends up with the two of them needing to save ALL HUMANITY with a time-traveling space suit. In the midst of all this,  a character is brought back from the dead and my favorite character Tilly has to fight the most annoying alien ever. Three of the Short Treks tie into the narrative at the conclusion, and in the end, the crew splits up, with some of them having to go to the future with the USS Discovery.

It doesn’t bode well that many of my favorite characters were left behind in their present-day, while Michael and many of the younger crew members were sent to the future. I assume that’s not to say we will never see them again, cause come on its Star Trek; but I will miss Captain Pike, young Spock, Number One, love-struck Ash, Klingon Chancellor L’Rell and mirror-universe Georgiou. Michael was really grating on my nerves, with way too much focus on her and her earnestness, so more of her next season is not appealing. This turned out to be a pretty negative review of Discovery, but I’m not ready to give it up yet. The recently announced new Short Treks look promising and I will be all in for the new Picard series next year!

Live long and prosper, my friends!

-Nancy

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I Heart Characters: A Character Overrun with Personality 

I ♥ Characters is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase blogger love for characters. Each week she supplies a topic and we supply the character from whatever media we love and link up so others can blog hop and share the character love. ♡

This weeks topic is:  A Character Overrun with Personality (This character totally bowls you over due to their powerful / expressive / in your face personality. Do you enjoy them or are they annoyance incarnate?!)

I am choosing Ensign Sylvia Tilly of Star Trek Discovery as my example of a character that has personality to spare. Typically Star Trek ships are shown to have crew members that are professional to the extreme. Set in the future, it’s as if crew members have evolved, and that they are never awkward or make mistakes. While it’s nice to think that people will develop, let’s be realistic. Discovery seems to be pushing boundaries on what fans consider Star Trek, and this is one example, as this series seems to be letting us see crew members as more realistic. As such, Tilly has become a breakout star in the cast, for many people relate to her.

Tilly is a new engineering crew member of Discovery and is very eager to please. She yearns for more, and gets accepted into the command track, as she has ambitions to captain some day. When Michael Burhham, a disgraced crew member from another ship is assigned to her as a roommate, Tilly teaches her empathy and helps Michael integrate better into this new ship’s crew. But despite her awkwardness, Tilly is very smart and a good soldier.

A reason why I connect so much with Tilly, is that she reminds me of myself. She is sweet, and can often be overlooked or not taken seriously because of her kindness. She is curvy and has wild curly hair plus a parent that she never could please. But she is also extremely competent and has a steely resolve that takes some people by surprise due to her being underestimated.

When the show was on hiatus between seasons CBS created four shorts to tide over viewers, and Tilly headlined the first mini-episode. Her big personality has made her a fan favorite, and Discovery would not be the same without her!

-Nancy

Star Trek: Discovery -Short Treks

Star Trek Discovery tried an innovative approach in keeping it’s audience’s attention and building interest- it put out four shorts (each approximately 15 minutes long), one each month starting in October. They were non-linear, with three of them showcasing fan favorites.

Runaway

Ensign Sylvia Tilly was featured in the first episode, with a short that featured Tilly befriending a stowaway alien.

Tilly, in all her awkward glory, has become a favorite of the Discovery crew for many viewers (including me!). In this short, she accidentally meets a new species of alien that can turn invisible. When the two encounter one another in the mess hall, chaos erupts, but when other crew members arrive for a meal, the shambles can be attributed to Tilly being known for unintentionally being a magnet for mayhem. I had to have a huge suspension of disbelief that Tilly never reported this alien, even for the somewhat valid reasons for her being there, and got away with transporting her back to her home world. Wouldn’t there be logs of those kind of transmissions? But I digress. The friendship between the two and the character development you see in Tilly make up for these issues, and it was a sweet slice-of-life short.

 

Calypso

This short proved to be the most atypical as it is set 1000 years in the future and is set on the empty USS Discovery, and the title name refers to a story in Greek mythology.

An unnamed human soldier, who later goes by Craft,  is found drifting in an alien shuttlecraft and inadvertently comes near the USS Discovery.  A tractor beam brings him inside the ship and he awakens in sick bay. Wary, he tries to escape, but he is calmed when the female speaking through the intercom is friendly and non-threatening. We find out the ship had been abandoned 1000 years prior by the crew, and the AI has evolved in that time and calls herself Zora. Craft shares that he was escaping a battle and wants to be reunited with his wife and child, whom he hasn’t seen in ten years. Craft and Zora (in holographic form) bond, and there is a poignant scene in which the two recreate a dancing scene from the movie Funny Face.  The ending harkens back to the title of this episode, and if you aren’t familiar with that myth, look it up!

 

The Brightest Star

 

Commander Saru gets an origin story that explains how the first Kelpien joined Starfleet.

We first meet Saru, living a quiet agrarian life with his father and sister, but the village lives in fear as an alien nation demands tributes on a regular basis. When the alien ship drops some technology Saru examines it on the sly, refusing to accept that this life is all there is. His questions to his father are rejected but he continues trying to send out a message to others beyond his home planet.  Time goes by, but he eventually receives a message from an unknown ship that they will arrive the next day. I gasped with who stepped out of the shuttle, and I’m sure all Trekkie fans started checking their Star Trek canon to see if the years matched up. While this story had a bit of a discrepancy with what Saru previously shared about his home world (edit- and a comment in the first episode of the second season didn’t match either), this was a lovely origin story. His last quote “I saw hope, in the stars. It was stronger than fear. And I went towards it” was perfect.

 

The Escape Artist

Harry Mudd, an expert on long-cons, pulls the wool over many bounty hunters and renegades in a clever way in this last episode.

Mudd is a recurring scoundrel in the Discovery series, based off a character that only appeared twice in TOS. Actor Rainn Wilson is having fun with this role, so his inclusion in one of the shorts was welcome. In this episode Mudd has been sold by a bounty hunter to an alien that was previously wronged by him. We see Mudd also trying to get out of previous jams with other aliens, so we don’t know if this current alien will fall for his tricks. The way he was begging not to be taken to the Federation made me think of Brer Rabbit, and the reveal at the end of exactly how this rogue got out of trouble again was ingenious.

All four of these shorts were strong, and each had a different feel. They were a wonderful lead-in to the start of the second season of Discovery and I hope they continue making them for future seasons. In the meantime, live long and prosper, my friends!

-Nancy

Star Trek Discovery: Season One

Star Trek Discovery has been quite a ride!

I had been anticipating this new series for over a year, but with several production delays, it did not premiere until September 2017. I eagerly watched the first three episodes and felt it was intriguing, although I had some major issues with the feel of it considering it is a prequel to TOS. I basically was having a hard time with suspension of disbelief that all the changes fit in with established canon. I then took an extended break from the show, as I was in my last semester of grad school and had to concentrate on my portfolio and final projects. It wasn’t until after Christmas that I binge watched all the episodes I had missed.

Watching the episodes in a cluster really changed my viewing experience for the better. All of a sudden I was immersed in the Star Trek universe and looked at it as a whole instead of dissecting the parts like I have tended to do in the past. With all of it swirling in my head, I was able to watch the final episodes as they were released and came away pleased with the series.

Image result for star trek discovery cast

I read an interesting article “The Fascinating Ways Star Wars and Star Trek Are Challenging Their Own Franchises”  which compares the new directions that both Star Wars and Discovery have chosen to take with their leads. I found I have some personal contractions in how I feel about these new antiheroes- for I was aghast at Luke’s portrayal in the recent The Last Jedi but was okay with how Captain Lorca of the U.S.S. Discovery was a warhawk and quite arrogant.

Discovery also changed up the pacing of the series with a prequel to a prequel in the first few episodes, with the series first starting on the U.S.S. Shenzhou and for it’s lead character not being a captain. The odd pacing also included what seemed to be a season ending arc concluding a few episodes shy of the finale, with the last two episodes taking a sudden u-turn that seemed to aim towards story lines that might align with TOS.

I think what has tipped the scales for me is the characters. I like them! They are diverse in the very best way. Michael Burnham is an appealing lead, whom I predict will eventually become a captain and be the one that will be included in captain montages with the other Star Trek series leads.  Commander Saru is a unique alien that has captained ably, but I worry that his quiet fortitude will be overshadowed by more dramatic staff. Crusty Lt. Stamets and his husband Dr. Culber are a perfect example of showing a loving relationship and Ash Tyler showed male vulnerability (before his huge secret was revealed). Sure, I liked Captains Lorca and Georgiou, but it is the regular crew that has elevated the show for me.

And Tilly- I shall devote a whole paragraph to her! I love her! She is me! She is sweet, and can often be overlooked or not taken seriously because of her kindness. She is curvy and has wild curly hair plus a parent that she never could please. But she is also extremely competent and has a steely resolve that takes some people by surprise due to her being underestimated. When her Mirror Universe counterpart was Captain Killy (she was bad-ass there!) I was thrilled. More Tilly please!

As proof of how much I like the show, when I saw the picture below- I teared up in happiness. Included are additional bridge members (the two on the left and the three in the back row on the right) who haven’t had much development yet, but have so much potential! The picture makes me hopeful that the episodes won’t always concentrate on the leads, and that lesser known ship crew can get their due. They deserve a #DiscoParty!

Was the series perfect? Hell no! I have come to think of it as not quite Star Trek, for it is a grittier and less idealistic show than I have come to expect. Instead, it is sci-fi adventure show that pays lip service to the series, and I suspend logic (Spock!) for the sake of enjoyment. It is quite rare for me to do, but my tendency to make mountains out of molehills would only do me a disservice and I would miss out on this flawed but captivating new series.

I look forward to season two! In the meantime- live long and prosper!

-Nancy

Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek is back on the small screen!

Now, I can’t exactly say it’s back on television, because that wouldn’t exactly be the truth, now would it, CBS All Access? But I’ll get to THAT in a bit.

So, this post on Star Trek Discovery won’t necessarily be a straight forward review, and perhaps that’s for the best, since I have the habit of being spoilery at times. So strap on your seat belts, because I have some OPINIONS on this new series!

Now I do not mean to shock and offend my Star Wars friends, but I love Star Trek more. There, I said it! I adored the original trilogy of Star Wars as a child, for it was a cultural phenomenon. But it came and went, and it wouldn’t come back until 1999. In the meantime, Star Trek: The Next Generation became my geek cornerstone. If you knew me as a child and teen you knew I had my geekish tendencies, but I hid it pretty well. I had watched Star Trek: The Original Series on reruns and had enjoyed most of the movies, but when TNG came along, and I was IN LOVE. The series ran during some of my high school and college years, but it was in college that I became a super fan. My sorority sisters knew when the show was on, I took over the telly, and if they walked in during the show I would excitedly give them recaps and tell them who every character was. That they were so accepting of this, and would buy me Trek memorabilia, is one of the many reasons that I am friends with them to this day. (In fact a group of ten of us are having a ladies-only winery tour weekend later this month!)

What does this have to do with Discovery? Nothing and everything! Having also been a fan of the other Trek series (except Enterprise-hated it, let’s never mention it again), I have been eagerly anticipating this new series. With production delays, my wait became longer, and then I heard the show would be moved to a paid subscription platform on CBS All Access. So lets, get this part out of the way- I am pissed that I have to pay a monthly fee to watch this show. One episode to get the public watching, and then the show switched to a paid subscription. This is a classic bait and switch. F*** that. I am already ripped off by Comcast, so to have to pay extra to watch is unacceptable. I do not watch much television, and I don’t believe I watch a single other CBS show, so I am paying $10 a month just for Discovery. It better be worth my while!!

So, is it worth my while? Yes (ish)!

I am three episodes in, and it is very promising. Discovery is a prequel to TOS, but it feels like anything but. I think prequels are always a dicey bet, no matter what the series. How do you show a time frame before the original, when technology IRL has advanced so much? I thought Star Wars did a good job visually with episodes I-III (but not so much with the storytelling) to match the original, but Star Trek doesn’t want to look as cheesy as the first set admittedly looked.  Ok…it’s a reimagining, I can live with that.

The narrative angle has changed for this series, as we follow a non-captain lead, Michael Burnham. The first episode starts out on the ship USS Shenzhou under Captain Georgiou, with Burnham as the First Officer. Burrnham is a human, but was raised on Vulcan with foster parents Amanda and Sarek, making Spock her foster brother. As the ship nears the outer limits of Federation territory, they run into the Klingons, who have not been seen in 100 years. Things do not go well, and Burnham makes a radical decision on the ship, partly fueled by her hatred of the Klingons, as they killed her parents when she was a child.

The first two episodes end up being a prequel of a prequel, for we do not meet Captain Lorca (♥♥) or the ship USS Discovery until episode three. The Klingons are obviously going to be the baddies of this series, as they have not entered into a peace treaty with the Federation yet as in the TNG era. Burnham is specifically brought onto the USS Discovery by Captain Lorca despite what she did on the USS Shenzhou (look at me- I avoided spoilers!) and a mysterious mission is under way.

The visuals are outstanding- film quality in fact, with a bit of an Alien movie vibe.. They have assembled an excellent cast with some big names. Jason Isaac is easy on the eyes, plus Michelle Yeoh is regal and my favorite Bond woman ever. Sonequa Martin Green is wearing the mantle of being the lead well, and the other characters are a solid crew.

But what I can not let go of is the new Klingon look. They made this alien species look so very different than the Worf-era look. You must understand- Worf from TNG is the perfect Klingon, and the series and movies since then have followed that template. In this series they are too extreme. While I like how the actors speak Klingon, with English subtitles, Discovery is pushing the envelope too far. They need to ground themselves in the universe most fans are familiar with and tweak it, not radically change it.

Another big variance is knowing Michael was raised with Spock. In a TOS movie Sybok, an older half brother was introduced, which many fans hated, so does Spock have even more siblings to be discovered? Why would the producers take a previous issue that fans had and add to it? I will try to be understanding of little inconsistencies, such as a Tribble on Captain Lorca’s desk (which should not have been discovered yet), because I aim in the future to look at the big picture, and not nitpick, thus ruining the experience for myself.

In conclusion, I am pleased with Star Trek Discovery. I just hope that it’s success doesn’t mean more networks will move to paid subscriptions for prestige projects.  Star Trek was created to show a united future, and making fans pay for it seems to go against that very notion.

Live long and prosper, my friends!

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Current Favorites that Aren’t Books

 

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week’s topic is: Current Favorites that Aren’t Books!

No books…well…I guess I have other interests…

  1. I just discovered BitMojis and I am already addicted to it. They appeal to my juvenile sense of humor, and my texts to my family and friends are filled with them. I made a little avatar of myself and this app puts your avatar in cute little pics. Why type the word yes, when I can send a bitmoji of myself holding up a yes sign?bitm
  2. The NBC tv series This Is Us. It has every television trope you can think of and I LOVE IT! The first episode had an almost nude Milo Ventimiglia in it- need I say more?nbc-this-is-us
  3. Goodreads. I love organizing and reviewing my books. I write reviews on every book I currently read, with the graphic novel reviews additionally showing up on this blog. But this way I can share reviews on all genres of books, in addition to writing mini-reviews on book series that I had finished before I opened an account on Goodreads. The site also has put me in touch with other bloggers outside of WordPress and introduced me to fun memes like T5W!goodreads
  4. News about Star Trek Discovery has me excited! I’ve posted more about Star Wars in this blog, but I love me some Trek. Set a decade before the events of TOS, the series follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they discover new worlds and civilizations, and has some intriguing actors already signed up. It is not part of the rebooted JJ Abrams franchise and will debut on CBS before moving to All Access. st-discovery
  5. My husband and I joined a wine club at a nearby winery, and we receive three bottles of wine quarterly. I’m a fan of Riesling and Moscato white wines, and Prairie State Winery has delicious wines that fit the bill! In addition they have live music, special events and meals for members. Good wine, music & food- our membership was a great investment!winery

So there you have it- other passions of mine, besides books!

-Nancy

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