I'm not talking about Saru. If they want to put him in as a member of new species, fine. My problem is that they have made a show that is aesthetically and technologically out of step with the established universe (that holographic communication tech, for example, is a big plot point as new technology in DS9, and the ability to project holograms in only specific parts of the ship was a recurring theme throughout TNG and especially Voyager). Having done that, you'd think that they would take their chances to say "Yes, we know we're changing things, but this is still the Trek you know and love". They seem to have done that with things like the door sounds and the flip communicators, but when they get these small opportunities to nod towards established continuity, like by making up an extra in blue as an Andorian instead of "generic blue alien" they aren't taking them, and they're doing their own new thing instead. If you wanted to do that, why make a Star Trek at all instead of a generic sci fi? It would have been popular - shows like The Expanse prove there's an appetite for well made science fiction outside of a massive established franchise.
Except for the minor thing where the holograms here aren't comparable to the "holograms" we see in TNG and beyond. Yes, sure, this is a departure from what was shown in previous shows - but I would argue that a simple video phone call isn't futuristic anymore. Yes, this is "out of step" with the established universe. But it is a step I for one am willing to take if it means selling the idea that this is a future universe gets easier.
Yep. I read the same pre-release stuff you did. That's why I was paying attention when the holograms of all the other Klingons showed up. They all look the same, not a TNG or TOS style Klingon among them.
And I never cared about the TOS -> TNG change, mainly because TOS means almost nothing to me (I'd be lucky if I've seen half the episodes). That was essentially a budget and technological limitation. Fine. But the look of the species was essentially established over, what, thirty odd years where they had the budget and tech to make it look a certain way - why is this new way better? Does it help the actors portray their characters emotions? Does it give new storytelling opportunities? Or did someone just decide "It's cooler this way!"? That's the most likely scenario, and again, it's evidence that the creators don't really care about the universe they're working in, that they'd probably rather have created something completely new.
The changes between TOS and the movies and TNG was much, much larger than the changes we see here. The klingons in TOS and TNG act nothing alike, not only do they look differently, they act differently too. In Discovery, the klingons are recognizably klingons, their cultural touchstones are taken straight from the worldbuilding done in TNG and DS9.
Yes, there is a "it's cooler this way" factor at play. The klingons do look alien
in ways that they haven't before; in a sense, the fact that the TNG klingons look more relateable is a plot point here. Those are klingons that we do know and understand, the Discovery ones are not. This is a storytelling opportunity, and definitely not just a choice taken for the sake of doing something different.
Does it though? Really?
Yes. ENT ended in 2005, and its set and costume design was informed by what we took as normal in that timeframe. The flatpanel screens, general utilitarian set design that looked very much like a reasonable interpretation of what a spaceship bridge might look like.... Discovery, with its touchscreens and holographic projections and heads-up displays takes the same approach, only using the tech we are currently accustomed to as base.
Or does it look like a modern day futurist is imagining what things are going to be like 100 years from now? Again, that's fine, and it works when you're playing in your own sandbox (I keep coming back to it, but I love the similar aesthetic in The Expanse). But these guys are supposed to be creating Star Trek. They're supposed to make something that works with the rest of the franchise. They didn't.
Like the ENT design team? Star Trek has always reinvented itself to some extent to accommodate updated aesthetic sensibilities. There is no clear way to go from the NX-01 with its battleship blue surfaces and flatscreens to the glowy crystals, primary colours and static displays of TOS. During Star Trek's most consistent era (TNG through DS9 and VOY), yes, designs stayed very close to each other (although they did seem to switch uniforms every couple of years), which I think is what most of us started out with, we got used to a specific style of what we think Star Trek looks like. ENT discarded it, as did the JJ Abrams films; to claim that Discovery shouldn't have done this is weird, IMHO.
Well, we disagree on that.
What are your hangups, then? I think her portrayal was pretty consistent.
Sure, he more or less made sense, but the rest didn't, and yet again, they decided to kill off the one antagonist who the audience might actually have cared about or understood. What was all the cult stuff about? Why did all the rest of the Klingons just show up when that light went on, and so suddenly change their minds from thinking T'Kuvma was crazy (or at least not powerful enough to be worth listening to) to fighting alongside him in mere moments of speechifying?
Because he actually did provide the klingons with an actual edge. His cloaking tech is explicitly described as new for the klingons.
Why did they help him at all? And the albino guy looks like he's going to be a major character, but why was he there if he as apparently disliked by the main guy so much he had to burn his hand to prove his loyalty?
Because he is not a noble scion of a klingon house. He had to prove his loyalty to T'Kuvma personally because he couldn't swear on the name of his house.
Or, based on the way they were talking during the death scene, had they actually known each other since they were kids? If so, why did he have to prove himself?
Because they didn't. Because the call-and-response routine they do reads a lot like a klingon prayer taught to children.
I'm sure the writers know the answer to most of these (even if, in the case of the Klingons changing sides, it's because it's just easier that way, and makes the rest of the series work better). There's the kernel of a good story in there, but it's hidden under bad storytelling and the building up of too many characters who all just die and wont impact the storyline from here on out (except as memories, where I'm sure they'll all be significant).
Four people died. One who had no dialogue (but a cool helmet), one who had to make a point to Burnham about how unaccustomed to warfare Starfleet actually is, and one who just succumbed to Mentor Occupational Hazard. These all needed to be built up (The latter two especially) to make an actual impact when they do die.
T'Kuvma, finally, had to die because, if he hadn't, the whole war would go much differently
. Because Burnham intentionally set her phaser to kill and shot him
It's just not well done, and it feels like part of the reason is that the creators didn't really want to make Star Trek. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe things will pick up. But based on the two episodes that we have to judge it on, it's not a well made Star Trek show yet.
It is, in its introductory sequence on that desert planet alone, much more worthy of the name Star Trek than any of the JJ Abrams movies. Its characters, Burnham included, are closer to the Roddenberry ideal than many; they are perhaps more flawed than Roddenberry would've wanted, but the humanist, pacifist, optimist core is certainly there.