Is Discovery Unloved?

By Carl Slaughter: Around the web in search of positive reviews of Discovery  –  and still searching

(1) “I couldn’t believe how one dimensional the Discovery characters were.  This Burnham chic has two gears.  Intense, brooding, semi constipated, judgmental angry mode.  Also, the actress is really unsuited for this role.  I don’t like her performance at all.  There’s no comradery between the characters.  Nothing relatable about them.  No relationships to become invested in.  The show is written so poorly, the actors just rattle off dialog in a fast paced manner.  Let’s just get through the scenes and get them over and done with.  Nobody speaks like this in the real world.  It’s not believable.  It’s also one dimensional, wooden, and forced.  They’re like robots.  There’s nothing hopeful, thought provoking, optimistic, or intelligent about this plot.  We’ve seen all of this kind of stuff before.  It’s just a series of action scenes and haphazardly written exposition dialog that just feels rushed.  The whole affair feels joyless.”

(2) We can’t see the bridge, why do we have to have Spock’s father in every series, the Klingons have their facial expressions, the only interesting character dies in the pilot, etc.

(3) Deus Ex Machino says Discovery’s main character gets off to a very bad start.

(4) Discovery and diversity

22 thoughts on “Is Discovery Unloved?

  1. I’ve been enjoying the recap discussions with Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Aster; they have a lot of really excellent and fun observations (spoiler: they hate it so far):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahw7BLXxvNw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PB6VsV1hwM

    Red Letter Media had a discussion too, where one of the two hosts hates it. The other likes it quite a bit, albeit in a similar action-y vein to the NuTrek movies, and acknowledging that nobody’s going to be making a new DS9 or VOY:

  2. Hmmm. I guess I’m not cut out to be a fan these days, because I actually, you know, like stuff. Even when it has problems.

    So, for counter-anecdotal evidence, I thought Discovery was fine. Not ground-breakingly brilliant, but perfectly acceptable. The actors seemed to be decent*, the plot was moderately convincing and relatively easy to follow and there were a couple of “WTF” moments that surprised me.
    In other words, I disagree with pretty much everything in the first excerpted quote. 🙂

    But then again, we also now seem to live in hyperbole world in which everything is either perfect or a disaster. Entire YouTube channels called e.g. “Everything Wrong with X” (when “everything wrong” all-too-often means “minor continuity error”) do not help. In the end, it comes down to “dog bites man is not news; man bites dog is news.” Who would be interested in watching a YouTube channel of someone saying “you know, this is perfectly alright”?

    *then again, assessments of acting seem to me to be amongst the most subjective things around. One person thinks someone is wooden; another thinks they are conveying subtle emotional depth.

  3. I saw episode three last night and I am still onboard (pun intended). It seems to me that a lot of people have this impulsive need to try and nitpick Discovery to the point that they satisfy themselves it’s a bad show. Fly, meet sledgehammer.

    That’s a SAD way to live people.

  4. @David Brain

    Yeah, this is a real “perfection is the enemy of good” issue. It has quite a few issues, some of which may end up sinking it, but plenty enough good points to keep on watching it.

    (My opinion may be coloured by not having to shell out a sub for it, as I’m not in the US and already have Netflix.)

  5. Star Trek: Discovery is off to a promising start, IMHO. Five of us from the book club (HugoClub.Blogspot.ca) get together on Sundays to watch it together, there are two of us who *love* it, two of us who like it, and one who is waffling.

    I’m one of the ones who loves it unreservedly. I like the fact that the character relationships are taking time to develop — it feels more natural for it to take time for the main crew to come to respect each other.

    Michael Burnham is one of the more interesting protagonists we’ve seen in Star Trek since the original series. She actually reminds me a lot of Kirk — impulsive and rash at times, but well-meaning and brilliant. I’ve started to wonder if the writers will somehow work it in that Spock sees a lot of his adopted sister in the captain who becomes his friend.

    So much more to say about it — Discovery is a rich text.

  6. This is why I don’t pay attention to most Internet reviews. Too many people out there get their emotional gratification (or hits for their monetized YouTube channel) by trying to convince people that their personal taste is tantamount to objective fact. Sometimes they succeed well enough to kill off promising projects.

    Of course, I’m an American who refuses to buy yet another streaming service under the crappy terms CBS is offering, so I haven’t even seen any of Discovery yet. It may indeed be terrible, for all I know. Although what I’ve heard makes it sound at least interesting. I plan to make up my own mind, if I ever get the chance to see it.

  7. (the following is not in response to any particular commnter)

    what I think is “sad” is when someone reads an opinion they disagree with and think it necessary to undercut its validity by suggesting that the incorrect opinion is somehow tied to the world’s failures…implicitly suggesting that there is something wrong with the person offering the opinion.

    I DO NOT LIKE Star Trek Discovery. Not because I eat babies for breakfast, not because I’m an idiot, not because not liking it somehow advances my political agenda, not because I lack the experience to make a valid judgment (for myself), not because my mother dresses me funny, not because I’m holding the show to some elitist ideal, not because of anything other than I DID NOT LIKE IT.

    Beyond that, I have offered what I consider to be valid justifications (all of which are naturally subjective because we’re talking about a fucking TV show here) in order to provide some substantiation for my dislike.

    I do not ever expect people to fall down before me and kiss my feet in worship for having shown them the light (though monetary offerings will be appreciated). I do not ever expect anyone to change their own viewpoint because of these revelations, and I am perfectly content to let others waste their time watching a POS without making any further assumptions about their heritage, their likely sexual practices, whether or not they eat with their mouths open, whether or not they leave the toilet seat up. Neither of our opinions is going to change what Kim Jong Un does in North Korea.

    But dammit, my opinion IS just as valid as anyone else’s. Our disagreement is not grounds for calling MY ancestry into question. It’s just a fucking opinion about a TV show and, in case you hadn’t noticed, I can’t change your opinion, nor diminish your enjoyment unless YOU let me.

    I’d be interested to hear why you like it so much (your opinion) so I can strengthen my arguments for not liking it. If you can take a joke, maybe we can even engage in some humorous banter about our differing opinions, but people, come on. I never read a bad review that kept me from watching something I wanted to see with my own eyes. My opinion is valid, even if you think it wrong.

  8. “Still searching” for good reviews? Come on! A quick check of Rotten Tomatoes shows 44 reviews, 36 of which are positive. That’s from the professional critics. Among their “fan” reviews, 59% are positive, which is a low number, but still more than half. Your search pattern seems inadequate.

    I’ve only seen the free episode, which had a lot of problems, but I enjoyed it anyway. As I’m still in the middle of both Deep Space Nine and Enterprise in my own watching, I can obviously wait until it becomes more available.

  9. @Jeff Smith

    Note that Carl Slaughter does YouTube video roundups, of which this post is one. Last I checked Rotten Tomatoes ratings have very little to do with YouTube reviews.

  10. Meredith:

    Okay, I didn’t realize that Carl did only YouTube roundups. He said he was searching “around the web,” which I apparently misinterpreted.

  11. I haven’t seen it but I have seen pictures of the new improved Klingons. I wonder if the show will explain how people physically unable to check all 8 directions could have much of a warrior culture. ?

    STARFLEET REDSHIRT: OK, Captain, we have stunned and restrained the entire Klingon party…No, sir, no trouble, it was a turkey shoot. We just snuck right up beside them.

  12. Without a doubt, if I’d seen episode 1 and had to subscribe to an additional streaming service (and one without much content from what I hear) to see the next episodes, then I wouldn’t have watched them. I’m enjoying the show but it isn’t THAT good and there are definitely aspects that could be better as well as aspects that just may not be to everybody’s taste.

  13. I’ve mentioned before, I really like the new Trek–it is just that it is on Fox and stars American Guy.

  14. I don’t like it either. Not because I’m nitpicking and looking for things to hate (and I like Michelle Yeoh’s character and Michael Burnham and hate the way everybody is treating her), but because Star Trek Discovery takes everything I ever disliked about previous Star Treks, amps it up to eleven and made a show out of it. But then, I’m pretty much out of step with current Trek fandom, since I dislike a lot of the episodes that are considered great these days, e.g. I’ve never liked Deep Space Nine and hate the “Chains of Command” two-parter. So if that’s the vision of Star Trek that Discovery is built upon, then it’s obvious why the show is not for me.

    I don’t have a problem with people liking the show, everybody has a right to their opinion after all. But there are valid reasons not to like it.

    I should probably give The Orville a shot, since that might be more down my alley, even though I can’t stand Seth MacFarlane ever since that Oscar ceremony.

  15. I think I would like Discovery more if it wasn’t supposed to be a Star Trek show – there are things about it which I find unsatisfying in that context. Then again, I might have quit on it by now if it wasn’t, since I have a pretty hard limit on the level of angst I’m willing to tolerate and Discovery was nudging that line by the end of episode two. But I like Star Trek and I can think of ways that this could be turned around so I’m hoping it will be more to my taste as it goes along.

    I’m wary of The Orville because I have never enjoyed McFarlane’s work, but I don’t have to make up my mind whether to watch it yet. No UK release date.

    @Jeff Smith

    It probably isn’t as obvious if you’re unfamiliar with it as a regular feature, although all the links are to YouTube videos.

  16. even though I can’t stand Seth MacFarlane ever since that Oscar ceremony

    Blame the Oscar organizers for that–complaining about how Seth MacFarlane acted there is like having Shari Lewis host and then complaining that she wore a sock on her hand.

  17. Yeah, I suspect that MacFarlane couldn’t have gotten away with what he did without the tacit approval of the Oscar organisers. But to me, Seth MacFarlane will always be the guy who stood on the Oscar stage singing about seeing the boobs of various actresses present, often in the contact of scenes of rape, illness and abuse, and who made a pedophilia joke about George Clooney and a nine-year-old actress of colour. Whether MacFarlane wrote those lines himself or someone else did it for him, he still could have refused to say/sing them.

    Actually, it would probably best, if Star Trek Discovery and The Orville swapped leads. Beam Captain Boobsinger onboard the Discovery, while Michael Burnham gets to command The Orville.

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