Much as I like Doctor Who, my favourite all-time TV sci-fi show is Star Trek, from the original sixties show down to the varying spin-offs down the years. The Golden Goose got cooked too much and the last incarnation, called just Enterprise left screens 12 years ago in a whimper and it didn’t cut the mustard for me. The Trek franchise had simply run out of steam.
The build-up to Star Trek: Discovery and the premiere on CBS in the States on Sunday was almost Game of Thrones-like, and I have to say it has been worth the hype. Check it out for yourself on either Netlflix UK or Netflix Spain.
What I loved about Discovery is that it is not a rehash of the old Trek, and the first two episodes (releases to come once a week on Monday) were like a very grand movie set a few decades ahead of the Captain Kirk era. We get some very nasty Klingons wanting a good old-fashioned scrap with the federation after Sonequa Martin-Green’s character of first officer Michael Burnham (a human raised by Sarek the Vulcan, who happens to be Spock’s dad:- got it?) kills a Klingon who is up to no good at a destroyed satellite.
Martin-Green is terrific, as Walking Dead fans can confirm (she was bumped off last season so that she could join Trek), and she rebels against the captain of the USS Shenzhou over wanting to be tough over the Klingons. That brings tragic consequences and sets us up nicely for the rest of the series.
This is new and exciting Star Trek that is offering more sophistication compared to the past, with some great special effects, along with a compelling lead character that has been wrenched away from being on a ship that she has served seven years on. Trek fans will not be disappointed and totally new viewers can join in from the start and not feel that they are not being allowed to join a club.
If you want traditional Trek, it is alive and well in a curious but enjoyable comedy spoof called The Orville from the mind of Family Guy creator, Seth McFarlane, which will air on FOX UK. The first three episodes offer the odd belly laugh here or there, but essentially I was surprised by the quite serious tone of the stories. McFarlane plays Captain Ed Mercer, with his first officer just having to be his ex-wife, who he caught in bed with a blue-skinned alien! It is a likeable homage to Star Trek, but because it is neither fish nor fowl in either drama or comedy, I see it falling between many stools and, much as I like it, I do not see it lasting beyond the initial 13-episode commission.
The divisive American Horror Story is back for another crazy run on FOX in the UK and Spain, and it is bang up to date. The story is called Cult, and features AHS favourite Sarah Paulson as a woman who has had psychiatric issues in the past and has a relapse when Donald Trump wins the US presidential election last November. I will not supply any further details because it is never easy to explain AHS, but the dark humour continues, mixed in with obvious divots thrown in the direction of Trump, plus some nasty clowns; gruesome murders; and a killer microwave. Nothing changes in the enjoyable world of AHS!