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Old 11-20-2017, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by evay View Post
Maybe because the show is so obviously just not pretending to care?
That's not it. Star Trek has spent quite a long time not even pretending to care about Star Trek continuity. That's sort of its default condition. Gene Roddenberry made it clear loudly and often that he didn't give a damn what somebody said in Episode 2x06 if it got in the way of a story he wanted to tell ten years later. Both TOS and TNG followed that convention, with Roddenberry going so far as explicitly decanonizing stuff (especially TAS) that got in his way. TMP retconned a TON of TOS stuff, particularly visually... and then, when Roddenberry got bumped out, Nick Meyer came in and retconned a whole bunch more! The movies from TWOK onward have a very different look and feel from TOS. But they just decided to not call attention to this, tell good stories, and move on.

VOY was a unique show in that it didn't only not care about the larger universe with which it co-existed, but didn't even care about its own continuity, as the endless recountings of VOY's shuttles and torpedoes and crew size made pretty clear. But they, too, just tried to tell good stories so nobody paid any attention to the continuity details. With middling success.

And ENT pretty clearly didn't care for most of its run. Berman & Braga rather infamously didn't know butt about TOS and it showed... for instance, in their Romulan episodes, which really only make sense if you pretend "Balance of Terror" never happened. The Abramsverse movies, which I embraced as best I could, probably cared about continuity more than most of their predecessors.

So I'm used to Trek not caring about its continuity. That's the order of things. The writer's inadvertently mess something up; some novel or forum post or fan consensus comes and cleans it up. How many explanations have been offered now for how Khan remembered Chekov in TWOK?

But Discovery doesn't just not care about continuity. It doesn't just inadvertently mess things up. Discovery puts forth active effort to break things. I try to turn off the continuity part of my brain, like I do with all the other series, but then Discovery throws it right back in my face. Over and over and over again. Say what you will about VOY's gradual erosion of the once-fearsome Q character into comic relief; they never went back to a major beloved recurring character from two previous series and the movie franchise and said, "Hey, this guy? He's actually a garbage person. And we're going to make an entire episode about his garbageness so you literally cannot stop thinking about how incompatible this is for a single minute of the entire episode. And his utterly immoral action is a betrayal of the core personality and relationships established for him in previous outings."

It's an escalation of hostility toward canon that could have been totally avoided with zero injury to the story they are trying to tell by just doing what every other series did and setting it in a more remote time period. But, no, Discovery wants to have its cake and eat it, too: they want all the benefits that come from being closely associated with pre-existing canon (ready-made stories and characters that viewers are pre-invested in, such as Sarek and Mudd and the Klingons) but with none of the costs that come from being closely associated with pre-existing canon (you have to be consistent!).

It's a self-contradiction at the heart of their show. And it's not fair to say, "Just let it go," because the show itself is making its connection to canon a central part of its premise. The writers made a very clear, deliberate, and unnecessary decision to force us to see "Journey to Babel" and "Mudd's Women" in a new light. If we don't consider what Discovery does to prior canon, we're not really watching the Star Trek Discovery -- a bold move by the writers, and a failed one (IMO).

No, I long for the days when Star Trek simply didn't care about its continuity. Discovery is so much worse than that.

I mean, really, really, would anyone want to see sets which looked like they were built out of styrofoam and cardboard because "this is pre-Kirk and that's how Kirk's ship looked"?
I would want to see sets which looked like "The Cage" sets because they were much more aesthetically pleasing than the mindlessly busy, gunmetal-BSG-holoscreen noise of the Discovery universe. Matt Jefferies did a better job designing the look and feel of Star Trek than the Discovery team. That they turned away from the original look for something inferior (and would be inferior regardless of date or canon-compliance) simply because it was old is a profound failure of creative and artistic judgment.

In short, I could live with an update of the visual design if the new design weren't uglier than a Gorn in heat.

Let Alex Kurtzman's name ring out forever as the great villain of Star Trek producers. Berman & Braga on their worst day had nothin' on this guy.
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