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Star Trek: Discovery ends the season with a bang (and a whimper)

Enlarge / I am really tired of being the only person on this ship with any sense whatsoever. (credit: CBS)

This season of Star Trek: Discovery has been wobbling between awesomeness and toxic muck, and last night's finale didn't tip the balance. The show has been under a cloud of controversy since before its launch, when fans raged about having to buy CBS' All Access streaming service to watch the show. But then, despite the exit of acclaimed showrunner Bryan Fuller, ST:DISCO debuted to mostly positive critical responses. Now it's time to assess where last night's season finale left us.

Over the season, we've had standout, brilliant episodes mixed in with 60-minute clunkers. Burnham's character arc has been consistently fascinating, but characters like Lorca and Voq/Tyler have slowly eroded from multi-dimensional people into mere plot devices. Most of the show's worst problems cropped up in the second half of the season, when we took a long detour into the Mirror Universe. Though finale "Will You Take My Hand" tied up any number of loose threads, often in ways that were rich and satisfying, the episode also doubled down on some of the series' biggest mistakes.

Spoilers ahead. If you continue to read and then complain about spoilers, you will be forced to eat Saru's magical neuro-tentacles.

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Star Trek Discovery: “I’ve made a lot of bad emotional choices”

Enlarge / There is so much side-eye in this episode. For good reason. (credit: CBS)

The first season of Star Trek: Discovery is drawing to a close, and after Sunday night's penultimate episode, it's time for us to start assessing the season arc as a whole. In many ways, this season will ultimately be defined by the long detour we took through the Mirror Universe. All the many subplots and character transformations come back to that or function as echoes of it.

For now, let's set aside the question of whether the Mirror Universe episodes were good and focus instead on narrative mechanics. What does the presence of the Mirror Universe do to our story? How does it change the stakes?

Spoilers ahead. If you read further, your eyeballs will boil with plot reveals for every episode that has aired this season. Don't do it unless you are ready.

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The Usenet Deep Space 9 recapper that helped inspire modern TV criticism

In 1993, TV—and TV writing—were much different entities than what we know today. (credit: Tony Young)

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Exhibit 5,768: the current golden age of TV has clearly inspired a golden age of TV writing. And if you follow today’s TV criticism at all, chances are a handful of names immediately come to mind (people like Emily Nussbaum at The New Yorker or James Poniewozik at The New York Times, for instance). But time and time again, stories on the rise of this format in recent years end up pointing to one writer—Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall—as the dean of modern TV criticism.

While landmark TV writing sites like TV Without Pity (1998) wouldn’t come along until the Internet matured, Sepinwall was on the Web back when “Lynx and Mosaic were the only two browsers and you had to drive uphill through the snow both ways to get to the Yahoo! homepage,” as he once put it. Back in 1993, long before he started his own blog or went on to contribute to the Star Ledger and Hitfix, Sepinwall was just a college sophomore posting about NYPD Blue to Usenet.

<em>DS9</em> recapper / physics teacher, Tim Lynch.

DS9 recapper / physics teacher, Tim Lynch. (credit:

Ask Sepinwall about the origins of modern TV writing, however, and he has something different in mind: Usenet’s rec.arts.startrek.current and a certain Deep Space Nine recapper extraordinaire named Tim Lynch.

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How a Star Trek card game quietly continues, 10 years after its official end

(video link)

Earlier this year, I was back at my childhood home in Southern California, digging through some old boxes. Amidst assorted baseball cards, long-forgotten school projects, sports trophies, and more, I located a small, slender white cardboard box.

The box is unmarked, except for a small sticker in the top left-hand corner with my name on it. But I knew what it was the instant I saw it: my entire collection of Star Trek Customizable Card Game (STCCG), probably a couple hundred cards in total.

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TV Technica 2017: Our 10 favorite watches

Warning: This story discusses a handful of specific moments from TV in 2017. Though we’ve strived to avoid spoilng anything major, please note this list includes specific references to Stranger Things 2, Mr. Robot S3, Master of None S2, and Last Week Tonight among others.

More and more big players started entering the TV game in 2017: Facebook and Apple began devoting resources to original content, and old media stalwarts such as CBS and Disney decided a standalone streaming service was worth an investment. The downside of this seemingly imminent TV future is obvious: if you think it’s hard to find a show to talk about at work now, wait 'til we all have to subscribe to 15 different services to stay up on the latest darling of TV critics.

Still, the upsides may be worth navigating that headache. There has never been more room and opportunity for a diverse set of creators to get their shot. And that ever-increasing mass of shows to sample means it’s better than ever for fans of certain television niches. Whether you want things that are only teen-focused, tech-focused, or terror-focused, chances are, multiple options exist and a few of them will be well worth a binge-weekend investment.

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