Thursday, 14 September 2017

Cut to Discovery: There's a Lot to Catch Up On

If you're wondering why |I haven't just been posting about every single trailer it's because, well, there's not been a whole lot of new material shown in the run of 30 second teasers.

However Sonequa Martin-Green's appearance on The Late Show this week brought us the first clip from the show featuring her character, Michael Burnham, coming face to face with the Klingon Torchbearer.

It's only a fleeting few seconds of footage but it tells us a lot about the feel of the show. Gritty, realistic and edgy will certainly be terms that will pass the lips and across the keyboards of reviewers but from a fan perspective it's a lovely nibble at the corner of a much larger cake.

Burnham appears to be standing - as we've seen before - on the top of a Klingon ship. Just check out the graphics on the helmet heads-up display with the white dot moving with the turn of her head. The intuitive tech is something we've not seen in Star Trek before nor have we seen Starfleet officers wearing space-age garments underneath their larger environmental suits as Burnham does here (only just thought about this one...!). 

With the proximity alarm sounding on her suit, Burnham turns to be confronted by the Torchbearer who decides to talk with his bat'leth rather than his mouth. Loved the moment when Burnham's suit identifies the Klingon insignia - another sign of just how cool the tech aspect of this series is. How they will try and align it more with The Original Series as has now been indicated will be a challenge although on some of the official cast photos we've already seen that the control consoles do have buttons and knobs.

On the CBS morning programme, Martin-Green showed up again but this time with a second clip which has her in discussion with Captain Georgiou as they walk across the desert. The conversation is about how they would survive/escape from such a desolate planet and ends with the Shenzhou breaking cloud and descending right down to the planet. I don't believe it will land but there does seem to be a preference to let these huge craft enter atmospheres in recent years with no ill effects (Into Darkness...). Great shot of the NCC-1227 close up right there. The clip also includes some footage of Burnham taking on her spacewalk which I would think links to the clip of the face off with the Torchbearer from The Late Show.

As to the remaining few teasers we've only really had any new shots in the later ones. We've had Fortune Favours the Bold with Burnham stepping out of the Shenzhou for her spacewalk as well as notable shots of Lorca in action wearing the Starfleet flak jacket and sitting on the bridge of the Discovery as well as Cadet Tilly getting her first onscreen line ("This is so cool!) which is very current and perhaps not what you might expect to hear in the 23rd Century!

Beyond the Stars offers up nothing we didn't see in the earlier trailers while The Age of Discovery goes close up on the Klingons plus a shot of the new transporter effect but again, very little to get excited over. 

Perhaps more interesting are the new promo images we've received of the main cast. There's Lorca replete with phaser (great pic here, Isaacs looks damn cool), Burnham looking stoic and Lieutenant Stamets taking a call on his Starfleet issue communicator. 

With Saru's image you get a good chance to see some of the ship set detail. Is this Discovery rather than Shenzhou given the rather sleek looking computer console to the right? Does seem to be a lot of exposed mechanics on these ships. Indeed the set tours that have been circulating would seem to agree with this hypothesis since they all feature the cool blue touchscreens and sleek metal finish more inline with the Discovery.

Lieutenant Tyler gets more of an action shot with him at work in one of the shuttles ready to don the black body armour. 

The last trailer released has offered a little more for us to digest with new shots of Lorca, Burnham, Tilly and Stamets and one of Emily Coutts (Keyla Detmer) sporting some rather techny headwear. From what Lorca is saying; "The Discovery can take us to places we never dreamed of reaching. No other crew would have a chance pf pulling this off. Just us."; the Discovery is an advanced ship for its time being able to go further than any other ship to this point. 

The trailer also features Burnham on an away mission on location rather than being inside a soundstage surrounded by styrofoam rocks. There's not a lot that can be garnered from the images in this trailer even if there are a lot of new stills in there. It's just nice to see some new material. Happily, Stamets gets the final word in the trailer and for those of us who have been waiting for Anthony Rapp to get some more trailer screen time it's a joyous event.

There is still a strong focus on the Klingons too with the news that the House of T'Kumva is the 25th in the Empire. Hang on...didn't we mention a while back that there were - according to Discovery - only 24 Klingon houses?

Correct because this is the lost 25th house which still follows the "old ways". They are to-the-letter on the teachings of Kahless, wear armour that is two centuries old and are all bald-headed. It's a clever spin to ensure that there's still some continuity within the universe and means that acceptances can, in some form, be made for the look of the Discovery Klingons.

What I've thought is really cool is that the Sarcophagus Ship's hull is covered in its namesake i.e. the coffins of dead Klingons from across two centuries. It's a generational ship in every sense.

Finally; the theme. Listening to it there are very, very distinct parallels and homages to the work of one Alexander Courage and the immediately recognisable Star Trek theme from the 1960's but once those sharp tones have faded the main bulk of the theme feels dark and brooding with deep rumbling drums and a sense of foreboding all woven into the melodies. Jeff Russo has produced a significantly different theme again from the pioneering openers of Voyager or The Next Generation. Only Deep Space Nine comes close to the more shrouded bars of Discovery's theme especially in the first three seasons. There's nothing light about the theme for the new show with the strains of the tune really signifying the grim tone of the first season of the new show.

With the rather negative word that The Orville is receiving from critics, the way is clearly paved for Discovery to rule the roost this season and my anticipation levels are just building and building with each new reveal. It is however fairing better with real audiences but surely it can't be competition to the newest Star Trek kid on the block if the suggestions that it is a big rip-off are correct.

How they've managed to keep this Discovery so secret from the very beginning I'm at a loss to explain in a world where media hacks and breaches are commonplace, this is one that has remained under lock and key even with just 10 days to go. 

On the flip side to that though, we're now ten days from the US premiere and it seems that no-one has seen the pilot. The official first showing is (I recall) scheduled for the 19th which gives us four (or five for UK viewers) days to find out what the word on the street is about Discovery. There must be something redeeming since it's already been confirmed for a second season.

Every day gives something new be it a props discussion, a trailer, a still or the musical rounds. In fact there's so much one man on a UK site can't quite keep up with it all...!

What's been your favourite part of the trailers so far?

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