Saturday, September 09, 2017

Trailers in Short - Trekking it with Star Trek: Discovery and Orville

It is always a treat when you get to look forward to more science fiction on TV. And recent years has felt like it's given us a little boom in the genre with shows like Dark Matter, Killjoys, The Expanse, DC and Marvel shows, Rick and Morty, Dirk Gently, West World, Star Wars: Rebels, Orphan Black, and so on.

It continues with year with more, and in the Trek exploration vein to boot. How can I not be happy with that? Star Trek: Discovery and Orville.

What else is there to say to this but...

Oh, wait. Am I supposed to pick one and hate the other? Or, just hate both of them and demand they be cancelled now? Or, just ask why isn't Firefly being brought back?

I think I'll just sit and see if I enjoy what's a tap. Okay?

But let's start with Orville as it has less info to unpack. And it premieres this weekend.


This series takes place around 400 years in the future. It seems to be a golden age for humanity, allied with an array of alien races in progress and exploration. The Orville is one of Earth's exploration vessels. Ed Mercer is given command of it as a last chance to save his career. He's surrounded by a competent, though flawed crew, who help in attempt to find success discovering strange wonders in the universe, and save humanity of and on.

The show is the creation of Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad, Cosmos). It isn't surprising this show shares a lot with Star Trek, as MacFarlane is a massive Trek fan. He appeared twice on Enterprise as an Engineer getting a talking to by Chief Engineer Tucker. He's also mentioned in the past he's like to reboot Star Trek.

It also does conjure memories of Galaxy Quest. Some of the designs and the use of humor bring it. And the ship could as well, but it also looks like a giant shiny Galaxy Express.

Now the issue with looking at this, or any, Seth MacFarlane show is that he's had a habit of bringing humor into his shows that just isn't good, and with that humor some attitudes. It's taken away my ability to even enjoy his works that I find to be of better quality. And looking at this ad, their are a couple of off jokes that could be worrisome.

At the same time he may find ways to make it work, or tone it down, as he seems mostly interested in creating a different take on Trek-like tales.

So I have an option here, as a fan of Trek and similar tales. I can just reflexive turn (and as some will do preemptively write it off) and ignore it. Or, I can give it a shot. See how it fares for a few episodes. I am willing to let MacFarlane surprise me with a genuine attempt.

The other, wider, problem the show has is that some early reviews seem a little upset that the show isn't exactly what they expected, an out and out Trek spoof. MacFarlane is trying to make a variation of sincere Trek, but with a clear humorous tint to it. It feels strange that I have to explain that, as it seems pretty clear from the trailer for the show. But some people seem to think the show was meant to be Family Guy in Spa-a-a-ace. No, it's supposed to be a humorous scifi show.

But these days I find reviewer seem to have trouble seeing passed their presuppositions. It's a shame.

The other new show coming this month is actual Star Trek. Though some have tried to debate that.

Star Trek: Discovery

The new Trek series is a prequel, set 10 years before the beginning of Trek lore with the adventure of Kirk and Spock. We will be following the exploits of Micheal Burnham. She is the first officer of the USS Shenzhou under Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). Burnham was raised on Vulcan by Sarek, following the death of her family.

The shows structure is still a mystery. The season will have an ongoing overall structure to it. But how things will flow, will we jump around the timeline, etc, is unknown. What we do know is that she will also be serving aboard the USS Discovery under Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs).

How that all works is unclear, I have my theories, but I will wait and see how the show will work.

The style of the show is a shift it looks and sounds different from Enterprise, and the earlier shows. But 10 years on how would we not expect the next show of the line to not be quite different, like Star Trek: The Next Generation was to the original Star Trek?

Too often shows, characters, and genres can become trapped and stifled. After all, young minds, fresh ideas, be tolerant. It's only logical.

So, while I looked askance at first at this rather different take, based on ads, I grow more curious to see just what the new show can do, and bring to Trek.

Of course it is going to be behind a paywall, but I suppose I will be forced to move with the times. I am not sure how many others will as well.

The other issue the show is having is it's press coverage. I didn't even no the show was still a go until I saw the first ads in July.

Before that I'd heard awhile back that it's creator Bryan Fuller had given up and left the production, and then it started having it's serious delays. I thought it was circling a drain in development Hell.

And then it reemerged. Strange new worlds. New lifeforms. And new Klingons...

They are spending a lot per episode and it shows it how nice and sleek it all looks.

And I know a lot of old school Trekkies are confused/annoyed at how the show looks, it isn't as boxy and Christmas lighty as classic original Trek. And that is true. You can go retro, and their are some amazing fan films that do that. Or, you can think it's supposed to be futuristic, not mod. You have to make a choice, and both sides have valid points to them. And you can accept that decision, or not.

Anyway, Fuller left, and then the production changed. When Fuller was their, they had certain designs done, and a plan to have a show set in  the "Prime Timeline" or the pre-new movies world.

But now it's not clear. Everyone in media is repeating that original info. But it's amazingly outdated now. Now, it's unclear.

The shows look beyond being more advanced looking than Kirk's era, is reminiscent to what we did see in the 2009 film. The bridges are more expansive like those in the movie. Even the uniforms look similar in some ways to the USS Kelvin uniforms. The Klingon's new look also reminds of what was seen in Into Darkness.

The most any of us can really say, and not be clickbaity, is that it's all a mystery still. But I remember when The Next Generation came out, it was mostly a mystery to me to.

Why are the Klingon's different?

We'll have to see. I was not crazy, or happy, when I first saw this look. The limited color palette and smoothness were weird to me. But when I see them in action it may be different. And, don't they feel so much less like rubber foreheads?

What's with the new ship, the Discovery?

The ship's basic design comes from an old concept design for the original USS Enterprise that was passed on.

Since the first look, the ship has gone through a series of designs. And the final design is still not completely clear. But it looks like we have the basics at least

The saucer has at least 2 parts. An inner saucer and an outer rung. The secondary hull is a triangular/arrowhead shape. And the 2 nacelles are long. Some images suggest very long nacelles, and others suggest that they may have been clipped back to be more in proportion with the rest of the ship.

The design through we off at first, but I grow excited to see it fully animated and racing around space.

The one thing they could do with less of is the chevron/arrowheads in the show. Look at the uniforms.

They went a bit mad with those. They even are all over the boots. Reign it back, designers.

It's a show fully changes. It's telling a story in an era of Trek that hasn't been explored. And I would like to see what they will do.

I don't have the energy to sit there with folded arms frowning with a sour face because Trek isn't exactly like it was when I was in high school.

How can you be a Trekkie and not have this in your heart?

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