Arguably the single biggest issue facing the many, many producers of Star Trek: Discovery was how to deal with the fact that it was going to feature more advanced technology than the series it was supposed to be set before – namely what’s referred to as Star Trek: The Original Series, starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly.
Made in 1966, Star Trek: TOS entertained some ideas that were way ahead of its time, but it was severely limited by the pretty lame special effects available and an extremely tight budget.
Since then of course, TV has taken quantum leaps in terms of what’s possible. Each single episode of Discovery has a staggering budget of $8million per episode, compared to $190,635 of the TOS, which is still only $1,447,339 in today’s money when adjusted for inflation. So Discovery has a budget 5½ times more per episode.
Moreover, the production values have skyrocketed. Visual effects are stunning now and in any sci-fi show, we expect to be amazed.
So, how the blazes are you going to set a show 10 years before Kirk’s era and keep an audience interested? Well, you can’t. It’s as simple as that…or at least you can’t and expect to maintain a chronologically accurate aesthetic.
Most fans have been OK with this and understand the problem in place, being prepared to forgive and accept. Allowances need to be made, of course they do. And for the most part, the production and been incredibly faithful to existing designs…with the possible exception of the uniforms.
However, the show’s producers have seen fit to introduce some plot devices and technologies which go far, far beyond this…and simply have never been seen in Trek lore, ever. Which is a whole new problem.
That damned Displacement Activated Spore Hub (DASH) drive is probably the biggest issue, but others include vulcan’s newfound ability to communicate telepathically over sub-space, why Spock doesn’t remember his adopted sister Michael Burnham and so on.
Producer Aaron Herberts spoke to the UK press and explained that the second season of Discovery would reconcile with older fans of the series by fixing issues with continuity. Herberts pointed out how challenging the show can be, but there are plenty of Star Trek fans in the writing team, so things might get ironed out.
“We have ten years until the original series comes into play. It is a challenge creatively because we have lots of choices in terms of how do we reconcile this [spore] drive? This surrogate daughter of Sarek? How do we reconcile these things the closer we get to the original series? That’s going to be a big discussion that we have in season two.”
Is there going to be some sort of magic reset button? A temporal cold war perhaps, or more than likely a parallel timeline…maybe not the Mirror Universe, but probably a mirror universe.
But here at MYM, we have a much better idea. We think the whole of Star Trek: Discovery should be the dream of Captain Ed Mercer from The Orville. We want to see Seth MacFarlane stepping out of a steamy shower mumbling something about a crazy dream he had last night.
Star Trek: Discovery returns to US screens on Sunday, January 7, 2018 on CBS All Access at 8:30 pm ET and on Monday, January 8th in the UK on Netflix
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