In its next chapter, the classic sci-fi series looks to clear the blind spots from its utopian vision.
When Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled in 2005 for poor ratings and J. J. Abrams introduced his alternate “Kelvin timeline” for his reboot films four years later, seasoned Trek fans had cause to wonder whether they would ever again see a “canonical” television episode of their favorite fictional universe. Then, in 2015, came the announcement: CBS, which had acquired the rights to the Star Trek franchise, was creating a new series—one that would be set not in the Kelvin timeline, but in the original “Prime” universe.
Fan reaction predictably ran the gamut, from dismissive hostility to skepticism to cautious optimism. But two years later, after changes of theme and of producers, backstage dramas, and aggressive marketing, on Sunday, September 24, fans finally caught their first glimpse of Star Trek: Discovery.
Critical reviews overall have been mainly positive, and I am inclined to concur. In particular, as a Christian I am intrigued by the show’s desire to retain a form of Star Trek idealism while acknowledging the challenges posed by human frailty.
Premiering on the CBS network, but from now on airing only on their streaming site CBS All Access, Star Trek: Discovery is a prequel of sorts. It takes place ten years prior to The Original Series—a century or so before Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, but a century after Enterprise. The debt to Enterprise is evident, not only in direct allusions but in visual nods like uniforms, aliens, and ship designs, all apparently set to transition into a more Original Series look as the show progresses.
In the premiere, “The Vulcan Hello,” the USS Shenzhou encounters a seemingly isolated ship belonging to Star …
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