First, let me say I like Discovery. I see it like I see JJ Trek (aka The Kelvin Timeline). Re-imagining Star Trek as something totally different and in alternate universe from The Prime Universe. I like Alex Kurtzman and think he does a helluva job on Discovery. I don’t buy into the “It isn’t Star Trek” line. It IS Star Trek, just not the Star Trek we grew up on…just like JJ Trek. And I am OK with that! I just don’t think it’s Prime Timeline.
And that, in my opinion, is the major mistake Alex Kurtzman and his crew have made, trying to tell us it is Prime Timeline, because it CLEARLY is not. Sorry Alex, love you man, and respect you a hell of a lot, but you have made one and only one mistake in my mind, and that is trying to ram “It’s Prime Timeline” down our throats. In fact MOST ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS with fans are due to this. Fans can like JJ Trek or not, but we all accept it since JJ was smart enough to take your and Rob Orci’s recommendation and place it in an alternate timeline. (Which Orci talks about in a Trekmovie.com article)
So why couldn’t you do that again? Why not just say it was an alternate timeline Star Trek?
This elegant solution, used in Star Trek (2008) which you were part of, was so brilliant, and so respectful of the fans, that it just BEGGED to be the solution you chose again. And yet you didn’t, and you keep creating more and more problems for yourself because of your desire to shoehorn this in canon. Again, I like Discovery and am happy we have it. I just don’t consider it Prime Timeline, because it clearly isn’t.
Writers on Star Trek always complained about canon and how the 700+ episodes and movies made adhering to canon a real pain in the ass. They wanted to jettison all of it! And yet you and your team embrace it! UGH. Drives me crazy. Still I can watch Discovery and enjoy it. In fact I love when you nod towards TOS like with the amazing Phaser!
So let’s start with this: There is a difference between CANON and PRIME TIMELINE. I know you get this. Yes, you are making this for CBS, and so it is canon. No argument, no debate, you are official Star Trek and so canon.
But The Prime Timeline is something you don’t get to dictate. The Prime Timeline is what the 741 episodes of TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise look like. We know that future. Remember, it is not OUR future, it is a fictitious future where the 90’s saw the Eugenics War. It is a future that is SET IN STONE. And you don’t get to redesign it and claim “visual reboot”. That is a reimagining and thus not the Prime Timeline. JJ didn’t claim it and the Kelvin Universe is aging well and settling in. If you had made Discovery set in THAT universe it would have been awesome. But I understand you couldn’t because of copyright and who owns what. So make your own Star Trek universe. We would all love it. We are geeks. We want more Star Trek, in any form.
Let’s end with the fact that fans see Axanar as Prime Timeline even if not canon, and why? Because we honor canon. We look like Prime Timeline. You can easily see the USS Ares and our crew living in 2255 (the year Prelude is set, and coincidentally the year you set Discovery). The Klingon ships look like TOS Klingon ships. You want a visual reboot? Be subtle or make it an alternative timeline.
You can ask any fan which looks more like The Prime Timeline and they will tell you Axanar. Now, I don’t expect a $ 120M streaming series to look like TOS. We can do that, you can’t. But that is why you don’t try. You just make it an alternate timeline and you do whatever you want.
Anyway, that is my take on Discovery and The Prime Timeline. I still like Discovery and enjoy looking forward to every episode.
In Part II I will discuss Kurtzman’s recent statements and how they will try and reconcile everything, because I am hoping they find an elegant solution!
BTW, a great article on player.one.com explodes the alternate universe theory)