Why “Star Trek: Discovery” Should Use the USS Enterprise Sparingly

Matthew Loffhagen
Entertainment Weekly
(Photo: Entertainment Weekly)

Season two of “Star Trek: Discovery” looks like it’s going to spend a fair amount of time on the USS Enterprise.

A new picture, revealed by Entertainment Weekly, shows Michael Burnham, played by the wonderful Sonequa Martin-Green, as she walks through the corridors of the Enterprise from the original “Star Trek”.

This is a move that’s clearly designed to appeal to longtime fans of the original series. Clearly, someone at CBS has realized that the primary audience for “Discovery” should probably be actual “Star Trek” fans. Surprise surprise.

Less Than Stellar Storytelling

In the rush to provide this blatant fanservice, I’m worried that the show might do more harm than good. This concern arises from the way that “Discovery” has used classic “Trek” elements in its first series, and how these concepts have been twisted around rather painful forced character evolution.

The most egregious example of this is the Mirror Universe, which “Discovery” season one uses as an explanation for why a complex character is so morally reprehensible.

The majority of the season explored this character’s motivations, attempting to get the audience to see things from his perspective. He’s flawed, but his heart is in the right place, right?

OG Star Trek Mirror Universe
Source: CBS

Nope. Turns out he comes from the Evil Dimension, where everyone is Evil. Because this is what passes for nuanced storytelling in the modern era.

I’m worried that too much of a focus on the USS Enterprise may involve seeing classic characters reimagined through the “Discovery” lens.

The whole point of the original “Star Trek” was to imagine an optimistic future where humanity had evolved beyond hate and selfishness. The whole point of “Discovery” seems to be that plenty of people can still be evil if they’re technically brainwashed aliens in disguise.

Keeping The Enterprise Clean

Maybe it sounds like I’m hating pretty hard on “Discovery” here. Please don’t misunderstand my criticism – I enjoy enough of the show to want to see it do more. I would love to see a version of “Discovery” that relies on building strong characters, rather than bringing in big plot twists to shock audiences for the sake of a spectacle.

I worry that the Enterprise is one such spectacle, and I’m concerned about what shocks might await Burnham on the ship. Maybe the engine is secretly fueled by tribbles? Or Mr Spock has been a human with unnaturally pointy ears all along?

Whatever happens, I can only hope that the Enterprise is an occasional visitor to “Discovery”, rather than a mainstay of the series.

It’ll be nice to pop in for a quick visit, but I don’t want the ship to wear out its welcome. If we see Baby Kirk at some point, I’m not going to be thrilled.

(Unless Baby Kirk is still Chris Pine, in which case, I’ll give this show a pass.)

There’s also a danger that “Discovery” could be swallowed up by the clout of “The Original Series”. If the Enterprise becomes a regular player in this show, it could pull attention away from the core cast of character that make “Discovery” season one worth watching.

Enterprise
Source: Entertainment Weekly

I want to explore the future of this group of heroes. We’ve already got plenty of stories that tell the tale of the Enterprise.

Here’s hoping CBS finds the right balance here. I’m interested to see what the new showrunner manages with the series, and whether season two can overcome some of the dumber flaws in the first season of “Discovery”.

With any luck, this show will live long, and prosper.