There aren't too many media franchises in the world that have stood the test of time. Certainly not like Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, which is not only one of the most culturally-influential media franchises but also touted as the greatest Sci-Fi television series to date. Star Trek originally premiered in 1966 only to be pulled off-air after just 3 seasons. It came back with a bang when ownership changed hands and Paramount pictures started reruns across over 200 domestic and international markets to recover some of the losses. Star Trek garnered a cult following and became a pop-culture icon.
The popularity led to multiple television series including the Emmy Award-winning Star Trek The Animated Series as well as a first of it's kind Star Wars Convention.
Star Trek mania engulfed other forms of media as well, spreading into Motion Pictures, Books, Comics, Games, and even Magazines. I have not started talking about Star Trek: Discovery because it is important to understand and appreciate the cultural impact of the Star Trek franchise. I am talking about a phenomenon that has spawned 7 television series, 13 feature films, multiple literary works, garnered 31 Emmy Awards, & 140 nominations. Not just that, the word 'Trekkie' was coined by fans of the franchise to describe themselves and till date is the only fan label listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. Other words such as 'Klingon' have also been added and in fact, Klingon has gone on to have its own grammar and vocabulary.
The impact of Star Trek has been such that sometimes people use phrases in common parlance like 'Beam me up Scotty' & 'Resistance is futile' without even realizing where they come from.
This is just one aspect of the impact. There is a whole other side, consisting of tributes and parodies across television and films ranging from shows like 'Firefly', 'Orville' and 'Black Mirror' to films like 'Galaxy Quest', 'Ready Player One'. The list of tributes is endless, with the icing on the cake being the tribute from NASA, naming one of their shuttles as Enterprise, after the most famous ship from the show. Considering the kind of following Star Trek enjoys, it only makes sense for anyone who is interested in the franchise to watch everything that is even distantly good. If you agree with that logic, then Star Trek: Discovery makes the cut with its eyes shut.
Star Trek: Discovery marks the return of the Star Trek television franchise after 12 years (Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005). Season 1 dealt with a familiar foe, centred around the Klingon war. I felt that season 1 was slow to start and only got into the groove after 7-8 episodes. Once it did, the pace did not dip till the end. In comparison, season 2 starts off with a bang and the pace is relentless. It is one of the most improved shows I have ever seen, getting better with each episode through the season.
The biggest strength for Star Trek: Discovery season 2 is top notch writing. The plot is intricate and weaved together with precision which keeps you hooked till the finale.
Mind you, the story does offer rewards along the way giving us finale-like episodes more than a few times in the season. The screenplay complements the writing brilliantly and lends immense support. You will realize how thoughtful the writers have been in creating the season when you watch the season prequel, Star Trek: Short Treks. The Short Treks is a spin-off series comprising of short 14-15 min episodes that fill crucial gaps in season 2. The moment I realized where episode 1 of Short Treks titled 'Runaway' fits into the main season, I was simply blown away. Let's not forget the two huge additions to this season, Captain Pike and Spock. These two additions lift the show to an all new level, providing writers with once in a lifetime opportunity. The opportunity to correct the timeline and get a clean slate (you will understand once you watch the show).
The season boasts of a spectacular ensemble cast, possibly the best I have ever seen in a Sci-Fi series. Sonequa Martin-Green leads the pack, playing Michael Burnham, the lead protagonist.
She is simply brilliant as the courageous and righteous first officer. Others include Doug Jones as Saru, Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly, and Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike. The action sequences are exhilarating, backed by some of the best special effects. Add Oscar worthy make-up and background score to the mix and you get one of the best shows on television.
Star Trek: Discovery is an enthralling piece of work that continuously delivers high powered punches all through the 14 episodes. It never shies away from the entertainment and is the most improved television series in a long time. Loved every single minute!