Saturday, September 30, 2017

Roadtrip, NFL, Good Trek/Bad Trek #39 Discovery

Next couple weeks I’m going out of town. I should still be updating here so don’t you worry about that. As much as I heart NY it’s sometimes nice to remind yourself that it’s a hellhole from which there is no escape. I’ll be heading to Michigan and Chicago then I'll be coming back to NYC. So if you’re in any one of those places you should come to one of these shows.
Additional sadness masking bear pun here

Other than that this was a big week for those NFL protests. We’ve got the original protests. We’ve got the president getting protesting over the original protests. Then a bunch of players protesting the president protesting. Regardless of what your opinion on national anthem protests are I think there are two things we should all be able to agree on. First, that there are already way too many opinions out there and yours probably doesn’t matter. That last point goes double for me. Second, the person who has been the wrongest is some lunatic I read on the internet. Underneath a story about the NFL, some crazy fuck commented that “Remember that show Wife Swap, where they took a wife from one home and way of life and transposed them into a highly different way of life? I think they need to swap out some of the NFL players for real-life people in Africa.” That is a real person’s real opinion. 

This dumb fuck’s idea for how to get football players to stop protesting systemic racism that is ingrained into this country involves kidnapping black people from Africa and forcing them to play football for our amusement. His idea for how to get people to stop protesting a legacy of racism that started with American slavery is literally. Just. Slavery. Again. 

Also, how surprised are the guys he kidnaps gonna be? His idea to teach these NFL players that they should be grateful to be elite athletes at the top of their game is to swap them out with just some random dudes from Africa. That’s messed up for those poor bastards too. You go to sleep as just some accountant in Johannesburg and all of a sudden you wake up and you’re on the offensive line of the Ravens. Poor bastard is gonna get his goddamn neck broken on the first snap. All to teach someone else a lesson. That’s messed up. 

Whoa boy. Again, that’s a real person’s real opinion. That’s not a straw man I made up it's? a person who goes out and interacts with society. I wonder how many people have politely listened to this dumb shit spout this opinion without speaking up. Does he say this shit at work? Does this guy say this to actual people or does he wait until he’s under the cover of internet anonymity before he says this crazy stuff? Is he at least embarrassed to be this dumb? I’d like to hope so but probably not. That’s the worst thing about the internet. It’s so easy to get your dumb opinion out there. You get it out there and then you get two likes by two other dumb fucks and that makes you think you’re right. You’re not. Very few people are ever right about anything. Especially that asshole. 

Know what else the internet is great for? Star Trek: Discovery. I watched that instead of TOS this week, and here it is. 


We start out on the brand new USS DISCOVERY! Oh wait, no we don’t. We are in a desert. Just hanging out. My wife said it looked too Star Wars-ey. I don’t know. It seemed a weird place to start us out, but what’re you gonna do. They walk in the shape of a giant Starfleet insignia for some reason, and then they get beamed up to the brand new USS DISCOVERY! Wait. Nope. Still no Discovery. Okay. We’re on the USS Shenzhou. Okay. The show is called Discovery. The show is named after the ship Discovery. So I’m not getting too attached to this ship. 

Discovery starts with welcoming Tatooine into the Federation

If you haven’t watched it yet, you definitely should. I had my quibbles but I liked it more than I didn’t. These aren’t your daddy’s Klingons. Even though they kinda are. There’s a lot of Klingons talking about house uniting. There’s a lot of talk about duty. There’s a lot of flashbacks. It’s all very solid. 

We get to meet Saru who is a coward but in a very relatable way. At least to me, a fellow coward. We get to meet our main Klingon antagonist for the series whose name is T’Kuvma. He’s pretty solid. A badass proud Klingon warrior sick of all the Klingon houses fighting and wants to unite the empire against the encroachments of the Federation. 
I love Saru. Some hated him. They're wrong. 

Michael (or as they keep on calling her Number One), the main character of the show thinks that finding a Klingon ship hiding just over in Federation space is a reason to fire on them immediately. She talked with her Vulcan surrogate father and he said that the Vulcans were attacked by Klingons once and after that, they fired on Klingons immediately which the Klingons respected. So now they have a truce. Number One Michael thinks that the Federation should follow suit. Is this a sound strategy or is this clouded by the fact that her folks were killed by Klingons which caused her to be raised by a surrogate father? Oh and her adoptive dad is also Spock’s dad for some dumb reason. And also when the captain disagrees with her she Vulcan nerve pinches the captain and tries to attack the Klingon flagship. 

All this raises a bunch of very Trek-ey questions that I cant’ wait to get answered throughout the series. We also get a nice battle between the Klingon and Federation fleets which is done really well. I don’t watch Trek for constant space battles, but this one is pretty solid. With all the big questions and big battles, I’d say that all in all it’s very good. Especially towards the end of the second episode where what we think will be the main antagonist of the season is killed off along with the captain that we’ve been getting to know for the past hour and a half. The episodes have more the feel of a movie than a pilot. We don’t really get to meet that many characters that will continue to be main characters. Really, just Michael and Saru. That’s it. Everyone else either doesn’t really speak or is killed off which is a really bold choice considering the amount of hopes and expectations that riding on this show. 

Bad Trek?

There were definitely parts I didn’t like. I don’t want to be the guy who got angry over parts, but I am so here we are. I don’t like that it’s a prequel. I think we’ve done more than enough with this time period. We’re good. We’ve got the JJ Abrams movies, we have Enterprise, we have six movies, and we have the entirety of TOS. I think we’re good with that whole era. I don’t really care how we got to the Federation of Kirk. Who gives a shit. We already did that with Enterprise. Poorly, but still. I know it’s all the future from today’s standpoint, but to me, that’s the past of the future. I’m done with it. We’ve all moved on. I want to know what happened after the Dominion War. Seems like that era is rife with possibilities. They could’ve set it in the Gamma Quadrant if they wanted to add in a bunch of new aliens. The Federation could just be exploring it since they didn’t really get a chance during the war. 

Discovery could have been on a five-year mapping mission of the Gamma Quadrant. That would have been badass. You keep the whole final frontier thing. You’d get to meet some new aliens. You have a tenuous peace with the Dominion. I don’t like the Klingons as the main agonist yet again. The Trek I grew up with had them largely at peace. They were a great villain while they were there, but there’s been a shit load of good antagonists they could have reused. To keep with my Gamma Quadrant thing they could have a newly freed Jem’Hadar no longer being controlled by the Founders. That would have been a cool dynamic with a shit load of potential for conflict. There’s just no reason to set it in this time period. Nobody who has such fond memories of TOS would refuse to watch some show just because it’s a newfangled take on the future. Plus, now we have very little reason to expect any cameos which sucks. No Admiral Janeway. No wormhole alien Sisko. Just these new people who I don’t even know if I like yet. 

Why is it so dark? It’s the future. The future is supposed to be bright. This is just ridiculous. I know at one point Michael tells the captain that their old school transporters use too much energy, but I don’t think it should come at the expense of having to dim all the lights all the time. Yeah, I get the Klingon ship. They work in the dark sometimes. I’ll allow it. But good lord every damn shot looks like a single candle is responsible for lighting every ship on the show. 
Where the fuck is this court martial taking place?

The bat’leths. I don’t want to be this guy, but I hate that they changed the bat’leths. I know it’s dumb, but I don’t give a shit. It’s who I am. I grew up a certain way. Captains wore red, Klingons were allies, and bat’leths looked like bat’leths. They were badass the way they were. Why didn’t they just reuse the ones that were laying around? Did Michael Dorn take them all? If so, if you could spare one, I’d appreciate it, Mr. Dorn. 
Scan again, dipshit because that ain't no bat'leth I've ever seen

Number One, more like Number Wrong! I know we’re supposed to like Sonequa Martin-Green’s character, but it’s hard to sympathize with her plight when she’s dead fucking wrong. You’re a Starfleet officer for god’s sake. You can’t fire on a Klingon ship without provocation, what are you insane? She’s been a first officer for seven years. I’m having trouble believing that the first time she goes off the reservation is attacking her captain and commandeering the ship. If you have that kind of insubordination in you, you’ve probably disobeyed an order or two already. I have trouble believing that this is how she started her journey of questioning orders. 

Good Trek?

Okay, I’m done being a little nerd bitch. There’s a lot to like too. I really really like Sonequa Martin-Green's Number One aka Michael Burnham. I'd never seen her in anything, but I think she knocked the first couple episodes out of the park. I think the whole “we’re not just getting the captain’s perspective” thing is a little overblown. The captain has rarely been the main focus of a series.  Star Trek is very much an ensemble show. Yeah, TOS was very Kirk-centric, and it wasn’t nearly as good as any of the other ones. I hope they settle into something like that and aren’t afraid to let other characters get their own episodes and arcs. That being said, you could do a whole lot worse than Michael Burham. It’s a neat subversion of the Star Trek formula to have the hyper-logical character finding out about humanity to be a human raised by Vulcans. Though now that I think of it, that does sound a lot like Seven of Nine too. So whatever. 
Badass Number One. Or Number one badass. Either or.  

The effects and the makeup look pretty badass. As dumb as I find it that they up and changed some props they Klingons themselves look amazing. The Klingon language is very slow and clumsy when folks speak in long chunks. The whole thing about the one albino Klingon that seems to be an outcast seemed like it came out of left field. Klingons don’t discriminate based on skin color. They discriminate based on how well you murder other Klingons. That being said, the Klingon makeup is just amazing. Some people don’t like it because they look different, but that’s because they look different every incarnation of Trek. That’s because makeup technology is getting better. The TOS Klingons were just kinda greasy looking. I’m glad as shit they didn’t stick with that. 

Kinda done with space jumps, but badass nonetheless 

I know a lot of people vehemently disagree with this, but I loved Saru. I think Doug Jones knocked it out of the park and I love the character itself. It’s a little squirrelly that we’re ten years before TOS takes place and being introduced to a new alien we’ve never met before. Will his species be kicked out of the Federation after this show takes place? Do the Klingons genocide his species in the great tribble war? I guess only time will tell. 

The space jumps belong in both categories. Is this going to be in literally every episode and every movie of any Trek from here on out? Good gravy space jumps are neat, but how's about we take a less is more approach going forward. Use them sparingly and they might be a little more badass. We’ve had two episodes and we’ve got two space jumps. That’s probably too many. They’re cool as shit though. So there’s that. 
Super badass

All in all I can’t wait to watch more. It’s not the Trek I grew up, and maybe that’s a good thing. Just from the first two episodes it looks like a combination between old school Trek, Deep Space Nine, and Battlestar Galactica and honestly that’s a badass combo.