The first trailer for the new season of Star Trek: Discovery has dropped in conjunction with the exciting and thronging San Diego Comic-con. By contrast to last year’s trailers, it is a wonder to behold. Pause the Krypton Radio music stream using the controller at the upper right before you watch this.
Captain Christopher Pike, a majestic fixed point in the history of Star Trek established in the first season of the original series, comes to us as the Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Played by new Trek actor Anson Mount He comes to Discovery to take command, to help the Federation assess a new mystery. Is it a threat? A greeting? Whatever it is, Commander Michael Burnham’s step-brother Spock is intimately tied to it.
The situation spans 30,000 light years. Pike takes command of the Discovery under a Federation regulation that covers imminent threat situations. He beams aboard the Discovery, and if you’re thinking formula, you’re probably running scenarios in your head about how everybody’s going to pull in every direction but the one they need to be going in in order to solve the crisis (which is unfortunately what they did in the first season).
Anson Mount makes a fantastic looking starship captain, and seems to be channeling his inner Kirk. He’s smooth, charming, and has a commanding presence. We instantly accept him as worthy of that command chair. And for once, it looks like the writing team for Discovery is not pushing the Easy Button. What we’re seeing instead is the spirit of the original Star Trek, an adventure series that puts us all on the edge of the Final Frontier, and on the edge of our seats. The sense of wonder is finally here, standing on the deck and reaching out to shake our hand. Somehow they have tapped into whatever mystical source of mana it was that gives Star Trek that spirit of — dare I say it? — Enterprise.
It’s easy to fall back on accepted tropes, and make changes to things just for the sake of change, or to attempt to “make a mark” or “justify one’s paycheck”. With a whole new team of showrunners, the whole equation changes. What we’re seeing in this new trailer goes way, way beyond those provincial goals. This is, finally, the Star Trek we had hoped to see in the first season, and looks like it’s going to be a great jumping in point for those who haven’t seen any of the new series before.
We are ever so faintly disappointed that we don’t get to see the Enterprise in action directly, but future trailers may fix this. We are also still disappointed that only CBS All Access subscribers can see the show in the United States at all. Will Star Trek: Discovery finally be great enough to lure people in to sign up? Let’s keep tabs on this and find out.
Watch this space.