A More Aggressive Federation
While Discovery may reclaim some of Star Trek’s more philosophical elements as it establishes itself, the period it explores also represents one of the long-running franchise’s most tumultuous time period, thanks mostly to those pesky Federation-Klingon relations. For instance, Captain Georgiou clearly holds true to her the Federation's non-aggressive principles, such as seeking diplomatic solutions and operating under the Prime Directive. Lt. Cmdr. Burnham, while raised with the same protocols, seems determined to make a show of force. She also discusses alien-problems with another crewmember, likely her captain, suggesting that the best way to deal with a problem is to “target its neck; cut off its head”.
Her necessitated hostility also portends the series’ edgier themes and darker tone, since airing it on All Access gives Discovery a greater opportunity to dig into the Federation’s dark side. Naturally, it's too easy for the latest venture to get lost in its cable-light fare. However, if done right, investigating the uglier side of Starfleet and the Federation could easily usher in a new, more introspective era for the franchise – assuming the Prime Directive remains a key component in those dark times.
Putting the Budget in the Right Place
One of the major coups for many fans was Star Trek: Discovery’s new home on CBS All Access. In addition to paying extra to watch their favorite show , its long-form storytelling format and its shortened season (now up to 15 episodes) didn’t sit well with some fans. CBS, on the other hand, reportedly chose to stream the sixth Trek show in order to help pay for its substantial budget, rumored at $4-6 million per episode. If anything, the first trailer proved that the producers and the network really put its money where its mouth is.
The first trailer handily displays Discovery’s cinematic side. Clearly influenced by J.J. Abrams’ reboots (lens flare, anyone?), the trailer nevertheless displays a familiar look and style. Much like the Kelvin Timeline films, the trailer presents crisp special effects, imaginatively rendered worlds that are in-line with the adventurous scope of the program, and costumes appropriate for the time period. The ships, settings, and general FX sequences are also elaborate yet respectful to the traditions of the network series.
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Star Trek: Discovery airs this fall on CBS All Access.