A while back, I wrote and posted a rant on why I don’t like Star Trek: Discovery. It was surprisingly well-received and now I’m back to offer a series of suggestions on how the problems I have with the show might be ‘fixed’. Firstly let me start by saying that I’m not attacking any fans of “Discovery”, so if you genuinely like the show despite the problems I mentioned in my rant than please don’t let me stop you, I’m a firm believer in agreeing to disagree.
Now then, on with the show
First we need to list the problems I have with “Discovery”, which are, in short order:
So, let’s begin:
By the far the biggest complaint I have with “Discovery” is the setting. It’s a prequel that’s supposed to take place only ten years before the start of the Original Series and only two years after the events of the original, unaired pilot “The Cage”. Despite that the aesthetics and technology of the Discovery era look far more advanced than anything we ever saw in “Deep Space Nine” or “Voyager” both of which took place in the late-24th century. The Klingons look nothing like how they looked in either the Original Series or Next Generation on, and the technology that the characters use is very flashy and hyper-advanced (to the point of being largely impractical in a real-life setting) and the war with the Klingons is portrayed very inconsistently; on-screen it looks as if the Klingons are just days away from fully conquering the Federation, while all the writers and producers state that it’s more like a series of small-scale terrorist attacks.
So, how would I fix this?
Idea One: Flashback to an “untold story” (a.k.a. “Secret History”)
In this idea, the entire series would be told in flashback to a previously-unknown series of events. Perhaps we open with an aged Michel Burnham being interviewed about her involvement in a newly-declassified event, possibly involving Section 31. This idea could work in that it would explain how Section 31 is so prevalent in “Discovery’s” time when it’s a complete and total secret by time it was introduced on “DS9”. In this idea, the Discovery and its crew would be under the direct command of Section 31. This would explain the distrust that many of the crew show for each other early on and just why they all seem to so blasé to the idea of Section 31, they wouldn’t be so blasé about it if they were all working for them. This idea could also open the doors for some drama as we see the characters having to wrestle with the Federation values that they grew up with versus the grey morality of Section 31’s cloak and dagger shadow games. It would also be less stupid than having Spock just say ‘it’s classified’ if the entire ship and crew never ‘officially’ existed to begin with. For example, in one episode we could see Discovery’s crew having to deal with a distress call, on the one hand there are people in danger, but on the other hand they can’t risk exposing their existence to the wider world.
Furthermore the war with the Klingons could instead be portrayed as a spy game, with agents on both sides going undercover and trying to one up each other. This wouldn’t even preclude the exciting space battles either, as these could be spun to the public as ‘border skirmishes’ or the like. And it would also explain the focus on Burnham’s character if she’s the one telling the story.
Personally, while this idea would be the easiest to do with only relatively minor changes needed to the overall plot, it’s my least favorite, since I never liked the existence of Section 31 and all that implied to begin with. But I digress, moving on.
Idea Two: Replace the Klingons
In this idea, instead creating a whole new look and culture for the Klingons, we instead create a whole new species. This could to be writers’ advantage in several ways, most especially in the realm of creative freedom, rather than trying to shoehorn their own interpretation of the Klingons in and expect us to just accept it, we have an entire blank slate to work with.
Secondly, it also works in-universe as, just like with the Dominion on “Deep Space Nine” this would be an entirely new, previously-undiscovered species. The Federation wouldn’t even be sure that they can talk to these newcomers, much less come to a mutual understanding. This would also add drama as it could be shown that the entire war is all due to an unfortunate cultural misunderstanding.
On the downside, this idea would basically just be ripping off the Dominion War arc from “Deep Space Nine” and would also muddy the waters since if this new species is so dangerous and powerful than why haven’t we the audience ever heard of them before? Much like the Xindi arc on “Enterprise” did, and, in many ways, is probably the least imaginative.
Idea Three: The Discovery is a Testbed for New Tech (a.k.a. make the spore drive a central focus)
In this idea, we remove the war and Michel Burnham’s act of munity that started it all entirely and instead portray the “Discovery” as being a testbed for new, experimental technology. In this idea, we borrow a bit of the cloak and dagger aspects from Idea One, but instead focus more on the technology of this era. Having the ship being a testing ground for new technology could be used to explain just why it looks more advanced than anything we saw Picard’s “Enterprise-E” use, as well as incorporating the “spy game” aspects from Idea One, the Klingons want the tech and they’ll do anything to get it. You could also add in Section 31 as well, maybe they’re trying to exert more influence or impose direct control over the ship through the guise of some branch of Starfleet.
This idea would also explain the spore drive and why we never see it again. In this idea, we limit the capabilities of the spore drive, so instead of it being the Deus ex Machina that the writers use to get out of a jam, we show that its ultimately more trouble than its worth, because as it stands now, the spore drive is largely window dressing and has no real bearing on the overall war plot of Season One if you think about it.
Idea Four: Don’t Make it a Prequel!!!!!!
In this idea, we simply move the series ahead down the Trek timeline, post-Deep Space Nine and the Dominion War, maybe placing it in the early- to mid-25th century. This idea would solve a lot of the discrepancies in regards to canon very easily, the new technology could be just that: new technology, and the spore drive could be something that’s maybe just being incorporated onto Starfleet ships and they’re still working out all the bugs.
Most significantly, this idea could explain the Klingons change in attitude. From the first episode of “Discovery”, the Klingons are shown to be waging a kind of “holy war” against the Federation, railing under the slogan of “remain Klingon”, arguing that the Federation seeks to eradicate—intentionally or otherwise—their way of life, this could very easily be incorporated into a post-Dominion War setting, where a more hardline, nationalistic group of Klingons, still recovering from their massive losses during the war with the Dominion, come to power and began to blame the Federation for their problems.
Another advantage this idea has over the others is guest stars! Yes, we could have past Trek alumni guest star and see how their characters have (or haven’t) changed. For example, what’s Major Kira doing? Did Bajor ever join the Federation? What about the Cardassians? Et cetera.
Anywho, those are my ideas, if any of you have some of your own, please let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading my rambling