If you’ve been waiting patiently for Star Trek: Discovery, we have some good news and some bad news (and, I guess, some in-between news). The good news is that the series will make its debut on CBS All Access this fall, and that its order has been expanded to 15 episodes from the originally promised 13 episodes. The neither-good-nor-bad news is that it will be accompanied by a Talking Dead-style post-show discussion show called Talking Trek, which you can watch if you like that sort of thing or ignore if you don’t. And the bad news is that, well, the trailer falls a little flat, especially knowing what we do about the behind-the-camera turmoil (Bryan Fuller, its original showrunner, dropped out of the process partway, and the show was originally supposed to launch this past January).
Though the new show canonically takes place in the same fictional universe as the original series, The Next Generation, and most of the other pre-JJ Abrams Trek shows and movies, the show’s look has a lot more in common with Abrams’ Trek than with any of the older entries. Everything, including the uniforms and the bridge, is shiny and slick. And while later episodes of Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise made extensive use of computer-generated effects, decades of advancements in the field are going to mean much bigger and flashier effects than anything that has been possible in older series.
As a lifelong fan my impulse is to be pretty forgiving of Trek, but the trailer doesn’t do much for me. In some ways, it’s Trek-by-numbers: warp signatures are detected, crewmembers are beamed up, (newly redesigned and honestly sort of off-putting) Klingons are engaged, computers are spoken to, objects are viewed onscreen, frontiers are explored. But a few wooden performances and editing that leaps wildly from scene to obviously unrelated scene does the trailer no favors.