Fans are just hours away from the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, but CBS isn't making them wait to see what the opening credits will look like, as they've now been released online. The move is a good strategy as it effectively serves to hype the series just before it makes its network-and-streaming debut this evening. But it also affords the audience a little introduction before the show boldly goes out in search of huge Sunday-night ratings and, with any luck, many new subscribers to CBS All Access.
Releasing the opening credits before the premiere is in keeping with CBS' marketing strategy for Discovery that we've seen these last few days. Last week, the network dropped an enticing teaser that not only provided a better glimpse at the show, but also teased the titles of the first four episodes. Those titles may have come without a great deal of context in terms of the story of Discovery's first season, but given Star Trek's long history, there was plenty that could be inferred from the reveal.
The same is true of the opening credits, in a way. Though the credits don't offer direct details from the new series, they do tell a story in a concise and visually striking way. A mix of painterly images and engineering schematics, the main title sequence registers the two sides of what makes Star Trek – and most science fiction – so appealing. But as the graphics reveal the titular Discovery, they also begin to show precisely what this series will be all about. As much as Discovery will be about… well, discovery, it's also pretty clear the show is going to focus on the conflict between the Federation and the Klingons.
The devotion to that particular angle might be questionable to some long-time Trek fans, as once Discovery takes to the stars, the sequence puts an emphasis on other tech, like phasers and a particularly gnarly-looking Klingon blade. Sure, time is also given to the ubiquitous Federation-issued communicator, but even so, the implication of conflict between two particular sides – whether that be human and Klingon, artistic and technical, or, like Lt. Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), the two halves of her one identity – is not subtle.
And at the end, neither is the score, as it eventually rises to the familiar crescendo that is unmistakably Star Trek. This might be a brand new series that's set to bring some alterations to the franchise, but it's nice to see some things will never change.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres tonight on CBS and CBS All Access @8pm.