After several years, Star Trek will return to our television screens and streaming devices this weekend with Star Trek: Discovery. Being a Trek fan for as long as I can remember, experiencing Star Trek: The Original Series in syndication and the subsequent series as they aired, I am curious and, at the same time, excited for this series. The trailer and the photos I have seen so far have also raised my interest.
Star Trek has always been a trailblazer for diversity. This new series proves no exception, with a stellar cast assembled for this 7th incarnation of Star Trek – both television and movies. The cast for Star Trek: Discovery are:
Sonequa Martin-Green First Officer Michael Burnham
Doug Jones Lieutenant Saru
Jason Isaacs Captain Gabriel Lorca
Shazad Latif Lieutenant Ash Tyler
Anthony Rapp Lieutenant Paul Stamets
Michelle Yeoh Captain Philippa Georgiou
Mary Wiseman Cadet Sylvia Tilly
Chris Obi T’Kuvma
Mary Chieffo L’Rell
James Frain Ambassador Sarek
Rainn Wilson Harry Mudd
Terry Serpico Admiral Anderson
Maulik Pancholy Doctor Nambue
Damon Runyan Ujilli
Rekha Sharma Commander Landry
Kenneth Mitchell Kol
Clare McConnell Dennas
Sam Vartholomeos Ensign Connor
There are a few members of the cast whom I am particularly keen to see on-screen including Sonequa Martin-Green, James Frain, Rainn Wilson, Jason Isaacs, and Doug Jones.
Star Trek: Discovery takes place approximately 10 years before the adventures of the Enterprise crew lead by Captain James T. Kirk in The Original Series. In a fresh and ambitious approach for the franchise, the focal point of Discovery will on First Officer Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead). This is a departure from the series where the Captain was the focal point of the story. I had the honor of attending the press conference for the series during San Diego Comic Con. During this event Martin-Green became emotional as she described the honor and responsibility her role affords.
Space travel presents opportunities to see new and exciting alien species. The first of these, the Kelpien, will be represented on the crew by Lieutenant Saru (played by Doug Jones). I will make a bold prediction that Doug Jones may turn out to be a fan favorite, much like Lieutenant Commander Data in The Next Generation. Vulcans and Klingons will also be fixtures on Discovery.
While the cast is mainly new to the franchise there are some ties to the Original Series. The characters of Harry Mudd and Sarak are part of the series cast and I think there are some great opportunities to connect this series to the franchise while at the same time leaving its own impression on viewers and fans. As I thought about the connection of Sarak to this series I think James Frain is the perfect choice for Sarek. I base this on his past roles in Gotham and Orphan Black primarily where presence and emotionally cold demeanor can fit the mold of a Vulcan well. I do think there is an opportunity for him to make this portrayal of Sarak his own. Rain Wilson is a great choice for Mudd and I am hopeful there will be an opportunity to give him a little bit more of a darker character our crew to content with.
While the producers and cast did not divulge too much during the Q&A, there is a degree of cohesiveness amongst the cast which I think will translate well onscreen. l got a sense that there will be plenty in store for fans of the Star Trek franchise, yet Discovery should also appeal to a new audience.
The series shoots primarily in Toronto, however, they shot on location in Jordan for the pilot. I am hopeful that there is enough budget for other exciting locations to support the Trek motto of “exploring strange new worlds.”
The first season consists of 15 episodes and will air in two segments. The first segment runs from September 24th until November 5th. The second segment will begin in January 2018.
The premiere episode will air on CBS television on Sunday, September 24th then move to their CBS All Access streaming platform. CBS All Access is currently available online at CBS.com, on mobile devices via the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, and on Roku Players, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Fire TV. There is a free trial with your initial signup – please check their site for further details.
Stay tuned for an upcoming article summarizing my reaction to the pilot episode next week.
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