The fourth season of “Star Trek: Discovery” has begun in Germany. Pluto TV linear TV web service shows the latest episode for free every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9 p.m. If you want to decide for yourself when to watch the series, you have to pay just under 3 euros per episode on Amazon Prime Video. In this largely spoiler-free review, we’ll try to answer if it’s worth it.
Initially, Discovery was not supposed to run in Europe because rights holder CBS repurchased the local distribution option from Netflix. It is expected that CBS will want to make the exclusive streaming service Paramount+ acceptable to the public in this country using Star Trek Discovery. In the US, it did well for the first few seasons – although Paramount+ was still called CBS All Access. However, given the quality of the chain, it can be doubted whether this will work again. The initial hype about finally seeing a new Star Trek on TV once again disappeared long ago.
Blinded by the special effects in the plot hole
First of all, it remains to be seen that Star Trek Discovery is still the best Star Trek series ever. When it comes to special effects in TV series, Discovery stars in the Champions League. On a 21:9 screen with a matching sound system, the series is both visually and acoustically breathtaking. In the first two episodes of season four, you’ll even get the feeling that the creators got even better than the first three seasons.
Unfortunately, as in previous seasons, the visual explosion cannot really show that the screenwriters are more of a regional category. And here the dialogues and plots seem to get even worse than the previous seasons. The first two episodes have already revealed dangerous plot holes and dialogues, in which the alien shame factor is almost unbearable.
So far we can only assume two episodes of the season, in total it should consist of thirteen episodes. But these first two episodes suggest that Star Trek Discovery will pick up where the series left off in Season 3. In other words, anyone who has loved Discovery so far will be happy again here. Star Trek fans won’t be in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2,000 years ago.
Over and over again Deus-Ex-Machina
The season of discovery is always the same and Season 4 seems to be no exception: the universe is threatened with complete annihilation. For some reason that’s hard to fathom, which often doesn’t make sense at the end of the season, only Michael Burnham can save the universe. Whether it’s because her mother, brother, captain, or boyfriend this season is involved. And because Michael Burnham is of course something very special.
But Michael Burnham doesn’t know it and that’s the reason for his desperation. In the end, of course, she triumphed, rocking with tearful and pathetic speeches. On the way there, Discovery with mushrooms jumps across the galaxy and helps several planets. But a little of it gets stuck in the end, the stories of the individual episodes seem irrelevant.
Star Trek Discovery replaces good scripts with real feelings and well-researched stories with one Deus-Ex-Machina after another. Like danger, its defenseability suddenly appears from the depths of space – and disappears again just as quickly. Just don’t think about it for too long, or else you’ll notice how little it’s useful under all the effects of the fireworks.
A good example of this is the global annihilation mechanism we are introducing this season. A gravitational anomaly greater than the distance between our Sun and its nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, whose location no one can predict. If you sit with a hot Earl Gray for five minutes and think about this script idea, you’ll think of more than one point that doesn’t make sense here at first. Of course, the reason could be that the authors explain everything perfectly at the end. But after the first three seasons one can doubt it with confidence. Discovery’s drawing holes are now so large that their mass is already bending the space-time continuum of the universe.
Conversations to make others feel ashamed
Irrational moments in the plot can also be found in the little things – for example, when the authors want it to be funny. Tilly has an important message to give the captain, seconds are at stake. She darts from the engine room to the bridge instead of just using the massive holo-communicator on her chest — which, incidentally, could have teleported herself to the bridge in a split second. For tired laughs, the crew was thrown onto the ship’s floor a second time within minutes from a height of nearly two and a half meters – including broken ribs.
Just because Tilly – who is supposed to be a highly intelligent genius, we are constantly told, and so far has been promoted to lieutenant colonel – is too dumb to use Starfleet’s more prevalent officer gear. Should we believe that? Every remnant of goodwill that you still have to share in the weirdness of this series is saying goodbye.
The new captain’s wooden dialogues with their fleet of clumsy science geeks and “We’re Starfleet” heroes on the bridge create nothing like a real Trek vibe. While the conversations are supposed to get stuck on the viewer’s nose over and over again, how adorable and so comprehensive, it just seems so much more sterile. If other people’s shame didn’t happen again anyway, because someone had already said something incredibly stupid again.
Maybe Michael is unsympathetic to the Christ complex. Probably because this ship changes captains at least once every season. Or maybe because the dialogues are so unbelievable, but you don’t feel comfortable on that bridge. Where you admire Kirk’s iron will, you just want to philosophize with Pickard about Shakespeare with Earl Grey, throw a few balls with Sisko in the holodic, celebrate the morning coffee ritual with Janeway and toast an Archer with a scotch that has nothing to do with Michael Burnham. You feel that Burnham’s personality consists entirely of the universal redemption complex. It is difficult to imagine that such a person has such a thing as hobbies.
Flying Rehabilitation Center
Above all, Star Trek has always been humane and life-affirming because every series thus far has incorporated strangers—all kinds of nerds and characters who look, feel, or think differently—into a cast that welcomed them with open arms and family devotion. The creators of Discovery didn’t understand why it was so successful: the crews were mainly laymen. Well, we’ll find out later that they are all in some way a bit special and have their own problems, but first of all they are officers of a military organization and almost all of them are as fit and mentally as we would have liked to be.
In other words: this integration story only works if you can see how “others” live and work with “normal people”. The fact that the data can detect emotions only works because the rest of the TNG crew have more or less normal emotions. Seven’s integration into the Voyager crew lives out the contrast between the Borg’s drone and the natural species that fears the Borg.
In Discovery, on the other hand, everyone is totally gaga. What might work in a sitcom doesn’t make the Starfleet crew believable. Adera’s gender-diverse story and its variegated Trill icon are so bewildering that the viewer simply comes out and prefers to ignore the complexities rather than pay attention to them. Poor dialogue does its best to confuse the audience, when it seems intended to do the exact opposite. Not to mention the fact that this emotional mess totally drives the most interesting and, to be honest, dearest, love affair between Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber in the background, which is downright shameful.
The series is not worth the time
The Star Trek: Discovery Writers’ Room always seems to have its heart in the right place. However, there seems to be a lack of basic understanding of how to write a good story or even believable dialogue at a distance. Or what is Star Trek all about. And so the seemingly beautiful series sinks into mysterious nonsense that has nothing to do with Star Trek except for the brand’s most superficial artifact. Episodes aren’t structured like Star Trek episodes, the characters don’t act like Starfleet officers and instead of contemporary problems and innovative solutions, there’s raw stage magic and plenty of hollow pathos. And whatever was bad in the first three seasons seems to be getting worse, not better.
Whether you want to spend €3 per episode on Amazon Prime Video is questionable. The author of this review won’t even be sitting in front of his computer at 9 Fridays for more free Discover episodes. His time is pretty good so not if there are seven full seasons of Deep Space Nine waiting to be seen on Netflix. The pool is not nice there, but the atmosphere is more human. And healthier for the brain.
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