I must confess straight out: I am a manic Star Trek fan. Other fans, reasonable people, they are all outraged about CBS using the new Star Trek show to promote its streaming service, and they are all declaring all over the internet about how they will not be watching, for they shall not be manipulated by this corporate...um...manipulation. They are firm, they are resolute, and I admire them for standing at the barricades.
I, on the other hand, signed up for CBS's streaming service about ten minutes after I heard the words "new Star Trek" a year ago. I mean, I didn't even check the price before I whipped out my credit card. These people own me, no question about it. Six dollars a month? Oh, I would pay so much more than that for new Star Trek, especially Star Trek on tv where it belongs instead of in the movies where it very, very much does not.
And, joy of joys, I have watched four episodes and I am loving it! New and much more strange-looking klingons! Exciting conflicts! Advanced special effects! And it's a whole new twist on Star Trek! Observe:
- The main character, Michael Bernard, is an African American woman raised on Vulcan by Sarek and Amanda (and if you do not know who they are...okay, you are not a Star Trek fan, and you should go do something productive) after being orphaned by the klingons, and she commits mutiny and violates Starfleet's ideals and goes to prison, but is given a second chance by another captain with a secret mission. So how awesome and original is that? I mean, hatred of klingons for killing her family has never been a powerful motivator for the protagonist before. Well, except for Kirk after they kill his son. Um, well, a story of a criminal pulled out of prison for a special mission that turns into a redemption arc has never...well, that's the entire story of Tom Paris in Voyager. Okay, but she's an African American woman leading the series, and there's nothing stereotypical at all about making her a convicted...ah, let's just move along.
- Okay, well the captain, right, he's determined to win the war with the klingons at any cost, so much so he's willing to abuse this alien creature so his ship can run on an advanced warp-drive-thing, and so there's this ethical conflict at the heart of the show...which is exactly like what Captain Ranson did on the Equinox in Voyager. Um. And I guess the entire population of England in Doctor Who's "The Beast Below." Er.
- Wait, there's the awesome bad ass female chief of security who is especially dedicated to the captain and is killed in the first season...oh, right.
- An alien first officer who has senses that humans lack and a grouchy doctor. Ah, right.
- There's a tribble...
- A female admiral?