Star Trek Online
Let’s bundle together a few Star Trek thoughts today, starting with the continued adventures of the U.S.S. Whatever Ship I’m Flying Today. I think I’m back to the Atrox Carrier, but that doesn’t matter.
After a promising start, the Delta Rising expansion seems to be bogging down into a series of missions that are either glorified cameos of various Voyager races or some ground stuff that doesn’t feel like it matters. Listen, if you watched Voyger, then I’m sure this is all quite thrilling, but so far I’m not seeing some great story here. Or even stories.
Currently I’ve been sent down to the surface of a war-torn planet to wage a three-woman war against the Vaadwuar, which sounds more like a piece of furniture a rich person would have than a terrifying alien species. I guess they’ve gotten some advanced tech and we’re curious about that, but who knows?
I don’t mind Star Trek Online’s ground game, but I will say that mission pacing falters if you are asked to spend long stretches of time in it. I also don’t quite understand why I’m going into a known combat zone with a truncated team instead of a full five-character party.
Here’s hoping either the narrative will perk up or we’ll shoot through the rest of this expansion and get to the next episode series.
Star Trek Discovery
OK, we really need to talk about the reveal of the new Star Trek series, Discovery, from SDCC. It was certainly a good time to do so, with the 50th anniversary and the new movie and all, but I have a gut feeling that they had to rush to get this out and what emerged was weirdly half-cooked and not nearly as exciting as the announcement of a new Star Trek series should be.
I will say that I like the title (and logo) very much. Discovery is at the core of Trek and the word certainly ties into the franchise perfectly. Great name for a ship and a tip of the hat to the space shuttle too. It’s also heartening that out of the little the showrunners revealed here, they did confirm that it will take place in the “prime” (original) universe and not the JJ-Trek timeline. The movies are fine and all, but it feels right that the TV show stays where it all began.
Then we get to the teaser trailer, which is nothing more than some music and the launching of the U.S.S. Discovery from an asteroid hanger. I can’t be diplomatic here: This is one insanely ugly ship design, and to make matters worse, the CGI for the trailer looks positively awful. Like mid-90s cutscene bad. This is why I feel like it was rushed out the door in time for an event, because this is just shoddy. About halfway through the teaser I thought I might have accidentally clicked on some fan-made video instead, it was that bad.
I’m OK with change and all, but I’m sorry, if a ship is going to be the icon for your series and the vehicle to take you through it, this is like shooting yourself in the foot with the starting pistol for a race. Yeah, I don’t care if it’s an intentional homage to the design of the (rightly) unused design for the Enterprise for Planet of the Titans/Phase II, it’s a woofer. Gold plating? Big triangle base? Angles every which way from Sunday?
It’s been kind of sad watching Trekkies twist themselves into knots to try to convince themselves that this is fine, this is a good-looking ship, it’s all going to be OK, don’t cry, etc. Maybe you actually do like it, but I’m not going to white knight this atrocity.
Sure, we don’t know much past all this. Maybe it’s a hint at a cross-faction venture with the Federation and Klingons. Maybe it’s another prequel show. Another theory is that this is a ship cobbled together from older ships in a far-flung dystopic future. Maybe this is one of many ships to bear the name “Discovery” that will be seen. We simply don’t know. But here’s what I’m hoping: That if this will be on-screen next year, it better start looking better than a 1970s reject.
Star Trek Beyond
I did want to end on a positive note — I was able to get out and see Star Trek Beyond this past weekend and was pretty happy with it. Lots better than Into Darkness, with fewer forehead-slapping moments in which key aspects of Star Trek were disposed of or desecrated. Space felt a little bigger, and exploring it felt a little more interesting.
It was definitely more of an action film and it still had ridiculous tech designs (the Yorktown is just waaaaay too big of a station and impractically designed… I spent half of the movie wondering how it could’ve even been built), but for the most part it started to pull out some of that classic Star Trek feel.
I think what redeems this entry is that all of the core characters really do get more time to talk and interact. McCoy and Spock have an adventure together, Chekov gets some one-on-one with Kirk, Sulu takes more of a command role, Uhura sticks up for the crew, and Scotty gets a surprising amount of scenes (which I’m sure was influenced by Simon Pegg writing the script). Lots of great references to the series (giant green hand, heh). Good stuff, all.
And (slight spoiler if you haven’t seen the trailer) they finally trash that weird Enterprise design and deliver a much better connie in the 1701-A.