Every time I read one of those breathless STRANGE NEW WORLDS IS AWESOME BECAUSE IT’S EPISODIC wankfests congratulating ST for being a television show that presents itself as, you know, a goddamn television show, I really get some cognitive dissonance when these gaslighters try to say this is a widespread thing.
No, it was Alex Kurtzman following a perceived trend for five years when it was over the second the GoT finale pleased no one during the first year or so of STD. So, it’s not sci-fi Tv; that was all the nutsacks in charge until someone realized Seth MacFarlane was doing better Star Trek with one hand tied behind his back, and how Johnny Favs brought his MCU magic to Star Wars… you know, episodically, sure, but in service of some world building.
Nice work, Star Trek. Good job on your bold new direction of… doing television for television fans instead whatever nonsense history will call those five years you did season-long stories that gave audiences an excuse to not give a crap about your idiocy.
So imagine my surprise when the premiere of season two is… a pretty good Star Trek episode, which, stipulated, after the last five years, is a mild shocker. But it really isn’t when this show exists in the first place to course-correct from the Kurtzman years. But let’s dig in, shall we?
Yes, there’s swooping-around Millennium Falcon shots, yes, there’s a Reliant-esque thing with a spore drive but Ortegas calls out “Looks like a Crossfield class” and it’s absolutely not because the Crossfields have a secondary hull. I don’t want to be all John-Price about this, but you guys are going to give him a stroke. Looking at your readouts (or even out the window) and seeing a car with four wheels going by? That’s not necessarily a Maserati, just because it shares some superficial necessary design and technological structure similarities. “Modified Crossfield class? Where did that come from?” and I don’t say a word, because it’s there to get blown up. But you can definitely see in stuff like this how the VFX guys and the live-action directors don’t really talk to each other.
Say what you want about Akiva, but he’s a crowd-pleaser more often than not and I’m just glad that the first ep of this season is a pretty bold statement of intent in that Spock is center stage, M’Benga and Chapel bring it as well-drawn, complex characters in their own right, and I paused the playback to point out to my son who is soaking up narrative that that is how you introduce a new character and have the audience on her side immediately: intro a pencil-pusher who, when encountering Spock-level shenanigans, immediately discovers the half-assed subterfuge but slyly winks and says HERE’S HOW YOU DO THAT and all of a sudden it feels like she’s been on board for years and of course she’s at the end of the ep drinking blood wine with the Klingons and telling Spock she’s got an interesting backstory and she can’t wait to reveal it all to everybody over the course of the season.
Of course no episode goes by where I don’t spout some esoterica about the costumes, but boy oh boy do I love the deeper V, the stand-up collar, the ’80s shoulder pads, and the two hidden zippers up the raglan seams in the back. Mimi’s going to kill me if I get an updated one as I ripped the collar seam of my SNW command shirt.
…but the one I’m most excited about, as a dad-bod, bearded nerd with glasses, I sure was happy to see that guy on the bridge before the end of the teaser. Most fanboys get Silent Bob or Kevin Matchstick from Mage for build-accurate costumes, but a four-eyed schlub in Starfleet with glasses? Looks like it’s time for an engineering and support services uniform.