If you’ve seen the first season of “Star Trek: Discovery”, you’ll know that the show is certainly an interesting watch.
Whether this translates to enjoyment or frothy fan outrage depends on how invested you are in the “Star Trek” franchise up to this point.
The show is neither aimed at “Trek” newcomers who’d get confused at all the Mirror Universe mumbo-jumbo, nor is it aimed at hardcore fans who get frustrated by the show’s pessimistic portrayal of Star Fleet officers as warmongering lunatics.
Presumably, there’s a sweet spot in there somewhere for viewers who have memorized the minutia of “Star Trek” lore, but who are happy to watch a show about a presumably utopian future that’s peopled entirely by war criminals and murderers.
Talking about season two of “Discovery”, showrunner Aaron Harberts is promising that, this time around, the show’s going to be a lot less gratuitously violent, and a lot more like, y’know, actual “Star Trek”.
“[Season one] was an interesting season because it was set against the backdrop of war. One of things we are looking forward to in season two is a tone that we can now be in a more exploratory phase and a more diplomatic phase – maybe a bit more of a Trekian chapter…But, everything for us is really driven by character.”
This would be a welcome change of tone for “Discovery”, if Harberts can actually be trusted to deliver what he’s promising.
The problem here is the idea that everything is “driven by character”. Thus far, the writers for “Discovery” have proven that they’re only really capable of coming up with characters that are an absolute liability.
Making a show that focuses solely on the worst possible members of Star Fleet has its downsides, and it’s no wonder that Jason Isaacs’ Captain Lorca was retconned to be literally evil in the last few episodes of season one just to get him out of the picture.
If “Star Trek: Discovery” really is to focus on characters in a more optimistic, diplomatic season two, the show can’t pull any more dumb bait-and-switch story points. No more mirror dimension nonsense, evil twins, or brainwashed Klingons that think they’re human.
Give us a story that’s rooted in believable characters who aren’t constantly turning out to be devils in disguise, and season two of “Star Trek: Discovery” might actually be worth watching.