Courtesy: Paramount/CBS/CBS All Access
Early next year, CBS All Access will debut the latest entry in the long-running Star Trek franchise in the form of Star Trek: Picard. The series’ debut is set for April 2020. According to information from multiple media outlets, the third season of the streaming service’s other Star Trek series, Discovery will premiere. While audiences wait for the premiere of Discovery’s third season, they have the series’ to take in on DVD and Blu-ray. Officially released Nov. 12, the series’ second season is a slight improvement from its debut season. That is proven in part through the season’s writing, which will be addressed shortly. At the same time that the writing has provided a certain improvement from the series’ first season, it also has proven to be a negative to the season. This will also be addressed. The season’s acting rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed here. Between the writing and acting, audiences get in the second season of Discovery, an example of a show that is improving, but still has a very long way to go before it can be considered among the best of Star Trek’s series.Star Trek: Picard
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery is a small step up from the series’ debut season. It shows that the series has some potential. That is due in part to the series’ writing. The writing offers audiences far more lighthearted moments this time out than in Season One. There are more jokes and casual moments featured throughout the season’s 14 episodes this time around. That could be perhaps because the crew of the Discovery has more breathing room, what with the war with the Klingons ended after Season One. It is nice to see those more lighthearted moments, as it shows that the show’s writers apparently don’t constantly take themselves with a lot of seriousness and can offer some entertainment.
The writing offers entertainment not just through lots of lighthearted moments this season, but also in the more action packed moments. Those moments are many throughout the season, too. From the crew’s dealings with “Control,” which are essentially the ancestors of the Borg, to the fights with Capt. Leland to the final epic battle in the season’s two-part finale, there is just as much enjoyable action throughout the season as there is joking and lightheartedness. The combination of those elements shows that clearly a lot of time and thought was put into improving the writing for this season. The time and thought paid off, clearly.
For all of the payoff that the noted time and thought had in the writing, it also proved just as much a negative as a positive. That is proven as there is an overabundance of unnecessary, over-the-top drama throughout the season, too. From the season premiere to its exciting two-part finale, the show’s writing team gave star Sonequa Martin-Green more than her share of screen time and just as many opportunities to shed a river of tears and then some. Between her personal moment with Saru when it appears he is going to die (not to give away too much here, but Saru doesn’t die), her nonstop emotional confrontations with Spock and her adopted parents, to her full-on emotional breakdown after another of her ship mates forced her to send her out of an airlock, killing her, Martin-Green gets plenty of crying time on screen. As if all of that is not enough, Anson Mount’s extraordinarily (and unnecessarily) long speeches as the season nears its end make it quite easy for audiences to hit the fast forward button on their remotes. The ongoing drama between Hugh and Stamets, and the seemingly never-ending drama between Michael and Ash adds to that overabundance of drama, too. That overabundance of drama sadly detract quite a bit from the season’s overall general effect and make it difficult for audiences to take seriously. Rather, they give the season more of a feel of one big supernova of an interstellar soap opera than an action, science fiction series. Simply put, the overabundance of drama tied into Season two’s presentation does just as much to hurt this show even more as the more lighthearted moments do in order to make the show more enjoyable. To that end, one can only hope that the show’s writers will continue to infuse more light dialogue next season than drama. If they don’t go that route, odds are, it will just continue to alienate fans (no pun intended) and find itself ending sooner rather than later.
While the writing incorporated into Discovery’s second season is both a pro and a con, the one element that can be said to be a full positive is the work of the show’s cast. Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) is a wonderful addition to the cast. His portrayal of Capt. Pike makes him one of the best additions to the cast. He really conjures thoughts of Capt. Kirk as he directly contrasts the much harder-edged presence of Capt. Lorca. Getting off topic for a moment, the writes mention Lorca in the opening episodes of the season, but still do nothing to explain away what happened to the prime universe Lorca, since it was revealed that Discovery’s Lorca was from the alternate universe. Getting back on topic, Mount effortlessly makes Pike a character that every viewer loves just as much as the Discovery’s crew. He cracks jokes with the bridge crew, shoots sarcastic remarks at Ash and Emporor Georgiou, and takes control when the heat is on, just as a good leader would. He just shows so much charisma throughout. It makes it too bad that he allegedly will not return for the series’ third season.
Another notable acting job from Season Two comes from newcomer Tig Notaro. Notaro, who takes on the role of Federation Engineer Jett Reno plays expertly off of Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets). The verbal barbs that Reno so willingly shoots at Stamets are among the best of the season’s lighthearted moments. Her timing and general presence makes for some of the season’s best laughs. In the same breath, she shows her own unique brand of care as she talks to Hugh about his relationship with Paul (yes, Hugh does return this season, albeit in a rather comic book-esque fashion, which is another issue with the writing that detracts from the season’s general effect). She maintain’s Reno’s edge, but still manages to show Reno has a heart in the process. It makes her quite the sympathetic character and talented actor. Between her acting, that of fellow newcomer Anson Mount and Ethan Peck (who plays Spock – Peck’s take on the timeless, beloved figure is noteworthy in its own right), audiences have just as much reason to watch this season for its acting as for the growth exhibited in the show’s writing. One can only hope that between the growth exhibited in the writing and the positive acting jobs of the cast, the improvements made in this season will continue in Season Three and continue to help this show prove its potential.
Paramount Pictures and CBS’ latest entry into the Star Trek universe, Discovery has show n significant growth in its second season from its debut season. That is evident in part in the season’s writing, which attempts to offer more lighthearted moments to balance out its overabundance of unnecessary over the top drama. Speaking of the drama, there is a lot of that, which seriously detracts from the season, along with the oftentimes dizzying cinematography. Thankfully, as much as those items detract from the season’s presentation, they are not enough to make the season completely unwatchable. The on-camera work of some of the show’s new cast members adds its own share of engagement and entertainment. Each item is key in its own way to the whole of the season’s presentation. All things considered, they show this season has the potential for growth, if only its creative heads won’t let it become the full-on interstellar soap opera that it largely become this season. Here’s to hoping Season Three will avoid all that drama and instead opt for more action than overdrawn, overabundant and unnecessary tear-filled jaunts. If they do that, it can make Season Three a major turning point for Discovery; if and only if they go that route. Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on the series is available online now at:
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