Speaking as a Trekker who isn’t a fanboy, I find the latest incarnation of Star Trek – STD (Star Trek Discovery) to be an expensive joke for many reasons. First, they ignore canon which is something you shouldn’t do if you are releasing a supposed prequel. Next, they stick it behind a paywall. This is more than reason enough for STD to fail. Does anybody really believe that if STD succeeds, the networks won’t suddenly start putting more and more series behind paywalls? They will if STD does well enough. Before too long, you will find popular shows going behind paywall only access. It’s bad enough that much of your cable or satellite bill already goes to cover local channels, but now they want you to fork over more money for what should be a free show? I don’t have cable or satellite, and the attempt by CBS to force me to pay money to watch a show on what should be a free network, only guarantees two things. 1) I won’t be getting cable or satellite anytime soon. 2) I will be boycotting all CBS shows and finding out who advertises on CBS and letting them know I will no longer be buying their products. Next, STD and CBS have made it clear this is their version of Star Trek and canon doesn’t matter. From numerous reports, it sounds like CBS and the design team simply slapped Star Trek on it thinking that many Trekkers and Trekkies would watch it no matter what. Here’s where CBS made a huge mistake. They should have studied two things: 1) Star Wars prequels; 2) Star Wars latest movie. The prequels and the latest movie have alienated a large segment of the Star Wars fanboys and fangirls who have kept the series going. I am not a huge fan of Star Wars, but I have friends who are self-admitted fanboys of the series. With the latest Star Wars movie, many of them only saw it once compared to the 6 – 10+ times they went to the theater for the earlier movies. Is it any wonder that Star Wars The Last Jedi did so poorly compared to most of the non-prequel movies? If you go to YouTube, you will find many fanboys and fangirls blasting it. Unfortunately, CBS seems to have ignored these issues when they put out STD. They also ignored canon and that’s something you shouldn’t do with a prequel series. A later series can work around certain canon issues, but has to accept many things as canon if they are going to call a series Star Trek. Star Trek Enterprise (STE) was another prequel series and it routinely ignored canon which is why it died an early death. Too many fans did not appreciate the changes made to it. Star Trek Voyager (STV) was a show set later, but it had a bad habit of ignoring canon when it suited the writers. At least Star Trek The Next Generation (ST-TNG) and Star Trek Deep Space 9 (ST-DS9) mostly stayed with canon although they occasionally strayed.
I know too many Star Trek fanboys and fangirls who are giving STD a wide berth and not watching it. Here’s hoping that it has a fast death as a series. I don’t say those words easily, but it beats the alternative where more and more new or popular shows get moved behind paywalls. This reminds me of my review of Helix and why you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on the numerous tests and apps they were encouraging you to do. It’s bad enough that many people are willing to spend tons of money on cable or satellite to watch a large number of channels. Locally, one network has made it so expensive for Cox to carry it that Cox has to pass on the price increases to its customers. Should STD succeed, you will wind up with a choice between having cable/satellite or having a handful of TV series. In that case, both cable/satellite and the networks will find customers dumping them to look for series that don’t cost to watch. Smarter networks will jump on the bandwagon and offer free good shows to draw the advertisers away from the paid shows. After all, why should you pay to watch a show that has commercials? It’s bad enough when they do blatant product placement, but having to sit through commercials for a show you are already paying for isn’t going to sit well with many viewers.
I don’t hate STD and hope CBS takes this review as it was intended which is to show why paywalls are a bad idea and why calling a sci-fi show Star Trek that has little to do with Star Trek is a worse idea.. They need to decide if using Star Trek in the title, or implied series name, that ignores later canon is really something they should pursue. It’s as bad as Peter Jackson making Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, but doing it as his version and not staying true to J. R. R. Tolkien’s works. Unlike some people, I believe every series or universe needs to end at some point. I used to read Feist and McCaffrey, but they carried Midkemia (Feist) and Pern (McCaffrey) on for way longer than they should have. It became boring to read both series as they re-used the same plots, tropes, character types, etc. over and over again with minimal changes to details.
I may not have seen a single episode of STD, but I have read numerous Facebook posts by people who have seen every episode ranging from fanboys/girls to those who agree with my take on the series.
Some basic prequel rules:
1) Can’t contradict its future
2) Show something new (however, this doesn’t include new stuff that violates rule #1)
3) Can’t have tech that is superior to what’s been shown in the future unless you come up with valid reasons as to why it’s no longer used
The next is in response to those in some of the Facebook groups who claim people who haven’t seen the series have no right to complain. Hogwash. First, there are plenty of reviews on the new series that provide key information about it and since both fanboys/girls and non-fanboys/girls have seen the show and verify the information, there is plenty to comment about. If that’s not enough, Wikipedia and other sites have in-depth information about each episode. And if that’s not enough, several people involved with the show have come out and defended why they can do whatever they want with the show. For the last, it sounds like STD is a good sci-fi show, but it’s not Star Trek. It like CBS wanted a good sci-fi show to compete with Star Wars and decided since they own the rights to the TV series part of Star Trek, they would slap a sci-fi together and call it Star Trek even though it had very little to do with Star Trek. A prequel that is only a few years before ST:TOS (Star Trek: The Original Series) shouldn’t be as advanced as they made it, not to mention it shouldn’t ignore as much later canon as it does. After reading some of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, you have to wonder how many of the positive ones were written by people who have actually seen the show since they know less about than I do and I haven’t seen a single episode.
To add my fanboy/girl comments, the worst thing any franchise can do (be it book, movie, or TV series) is to take fanboys/girls for granted. Star Wars should have learned that lesson with the prequels, and personally I don’t have a problem with the Star Wars prequels – other than too much of taking what was done in the first three films and rehashing it in the prequels, plus treating the Jedi as lawful stupid instead of lawful good. However, Disney didn’t learn that lesson and came up with The Last Jedi and alienated too many fanboys/girls. If you are going to give into fanboys/girls, best to find out what they want/don’t want in your franchise and give it to them or risk turning them into diehard anti-fans. I mentioned that I am a Trekker; that’s different than a Trekkie although some people would disagree. I enjoyed ST:TOS, ST:TNG (to a much lesser extent); ST:DS9 (to a greater extent); STV (so-so), and STE (not so much). By my definition, a Trekker is somebody who likes one or more of the series, but isn’t a fanboy/girl. They acknowledge the faults, flaws, and shortcomings of the series while applauding its strengths. A Trekkie is a fanboy/girl who generally refuses to acknowledge the flaws, faults, and shortcomings of the series and may or may not become rabid if you dare to point these things to them.
You are free to disagree with me, but realize I treat this as a family friendly blog so certain language is not allowed on blog responses. By family friendly, I mean G rated, not PG, PG-13, M, R, or anything stronger.