Science-Fiction Weekly – Star Trek: Discovery, Watchmen, Jurassic World, Terminator
More than 10 years have passed since Star Trek: Enterprise warped off of TV. Although Star Trek has had a promising run on the big screen recently, the heart and soul of this franchise has always been the television shows. Kirk, Archer, Sisko, Janeway, and Picard were in our lives for years, week after week. The television format allows for deep character development and sprawling stories to be told about the Federation and the other factions in space. Last weekend's release of Star Trek: Discovery, a new series streaming exclusively on CBS All Access, is a sight for sore eyes – a new wrinkle of Star Trek lore that dares to be different, and excites in ways that are simultaneously familiar and alien.
The first two episodes, which you can watch now, put a strong focus on Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham, a troubled and headstrong commander aboard the USS Discovery starship. In a flash, Burnham switches from being the typical heroine that saves the day to potentially being too conflicted by demons of her past to be trusted. Martin-Green is immediately engaging, but doesn't steal the show. The casting in Star Trek: Discovery is something that immediately jumps out as a success. While the focus hangs mostly on Burnham in these two episodes, Michelle Yeoh's Captain Georgiou is powerful and fun to follow. Doug Jones is also great as the lanky, tall alien Lt. Saru. I see shades of Data in him.
While the plot once again pits the Federation against the Klingons, this conflict feels new again, mostly from the Klingons receiving a complete redesign – from their look to the intensity of their religious devotion. Even the design of their vessels holds dark secrets that Trek fans will likely debate as brilliant or dumb. I'm in the camp of the new Klingon designs being brilliant. I love their new look, culture, and their mistrust in other species has created a hell of a plot line. If you start watching, just know the first five minutes are its worst. Don't judge it solely on a dumb sequence involving walking in sand. It picks up from there and maintains intrigue and excitement all the way through the conclusion of the second episode. The set design and extensive use of CG (which all looks great) clearly point to a huge budget for this show. I cannot wait for the next episode. This is THE Star Trek experience I've been waiting for.
Discovery producer Aaron Baiers tweeted one of the show's coolest Easter eggs, a collection of books in Captain Georgiou's quarters that are all titles of episodes from the original Star Trek TV series.
Chances are HBO's next big-budget show will be after Game of Thrones concludes will be Watchmen. Damon Lindelof (Lost) is adapting Alan Moore's comic series for the tiny screen. Lindelof says he draws inspiration from Watchmen in many of the shows he helms. "From the flashbacks to the nonlinear storytelling to the deeply flawed heroes, these are all elements that I try to put into everything I write," he told Comic Book Resources." I've enjoyed a lot of Lindelof's work, but I worry about Watchmen moving beyond the core story into a longer-form format. DC Comics' recent attempts to expand the lore in various comic series didn't work, and rolling Moore's characters into the current continuity with Batman and Superman sounds like a bad idea. It is a fascinating universe to explore, that's for sure, but part of what made it special was that it ended.
Of course, if the show ends up being a disaster, we could just ignore it. That's what James Cameron and Tim Miller are doing with the forthcoming Terminator sequel. Series star Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed at a speaking event in the England that the film is a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and that it would completely ignore Terminator: Genisys ever happened. Filming is slated to begin in March 2018.
Jurassic World introduced the idea of hybrid dinosaurs, but didn't go overboard with the idea; limiting the science project to just Indominus Rex. That wasn't the initial plan. Concept artist Bodin Sterba says that there were other hybrid dinosaurs that were cut from the film. He designed one called the stegoceratops, a cross between, well, I don't need to tell you, as it's clearly apparent what the two dinos are. Thank the makers this creature didn't make its way onto the silver screen. What an abomination.
Leaked merchandise for the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, reveals everyone's favorite raptor may make a return. No, I'm not talking about the bad-ass raptors from Jurassic Park's kitchen scene, or the talking raptors from Jurassic Park 3. I'm talking about Blue! Remember him? He saved the day in Jurassic Wor...wait...you don't like him? Well, guess what. He's front and center on the leaked merchandise, which will make your kids healthy and your mouth taste like something called "jungle mint." The leak comes from TenFourCreative, a graphic design company that is working on merchandise for the sequel. Yes, there's a chance this material may not be indicative of the forthcoming film's content, but Hollywood does silly things, and Blue falls right into their wheelhouse. We'll likely find out in November when the first teaser trailer hits.
This week's column concludes with a lengthy and all-encompassing look at Star Wars Battlefront II, due out on November 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. I loved what I played of multiplayer, and this teaser only amps up my excitement.