One of the positive things that came out from the prolonged COVID19 lockdown at hone is the available time to watch the long due TV on Netflix and I picked to complete all Star Trek series from the very first 1960s that started it all to the latest shows that keep the brilliant Gene Roddenberry’s live today – to go to boldly go where no man has gone before. Image source: SYFY
Read These First:-
- TV Shows 101: A Quick Guide to Star Trek – Part 1
- TV Shows 101: A Quick Guide to Star Trek – Part 2
- Economy 101: Best of Ferengi’s Rules of Acquisition
- TV Shows 101: Space 1999, The 1970’s Classic Science Fiction
Before we proceed further, let’s get the terminology of “stardate” first as although we may have certain series created recently in the Star Trek universal, some of it takes place in the earlier timeline:-
The three 1990s Star Trek series followed a new numerical convention. Star Trek: The Next Generation revised the stardate system in the 1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation Writer’s/Director’s Guide, to five digits and one decimal place.
According to the guide, the first digit “4” should represent the 24th century, with the second digit representing the television season. The remaining digits can progress unevenly, with the decimal point usually counting days. Stardates of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine began with 46379.1, corresponding to the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation which was also set in the year 2369. Star Trek: Voyager began with stardate 48315.6 (2371), one season after TNG had finished its seventh and final season.
As in TNG, the second digit would increase by one every season, while the initial two digits eventually rolled over from 49 to 50, despite the year 2373 still being in the 24th century. Star Trek: Nemesis was set around stardate 56844.9. Star Trek: Discovery traveled to the year 3188, giving a stardate of 865211.3, corresponding to that year in this system of stardates.
Frankly speaking, I did not watch the Star Trek TV series in chronological order based on the Stardate but then again each of the TV series had its own set of strengths and attractions.
Image source: IMDB
Star Trek: Enterprise (Stardate 2151 – 2161)
The timeline of the Star Trek Enterprise is set 100 years before the timeline of the Original Series with Captain Kirk and Mr Spock. The series follows the adventures of Earth’s first Starship – Enterprise (designation NX-01).
The vessel was launched on 12th April 2151, has two shuttle pods, armed with various types of armaments including spatial torpedoes, photonic torpedoes, phase cannons and plasma cannons. It has polarized hull plating and goes up to a maximum Warp 5.2.
After being very familiar with the roomier USS Enterprise in The Next Generation, I found the environment in this NX-01 Enterprise a bit more constrained. So when I had the chance to watch this series a few years ago, I decided to give it a skip, opting instead to watch the re-runs of The Next Generation and The Voyager which I must admit is still best in the series.
Now with the lockdown in place, having seen the rest of the TV series including the Original Series but excluding the Discovery, I decided to head over to Enterprise and start from the beginning again with an open mind. This is probably the only Star Trek series that I wait and watch the opening credits and it is just for the theme song – “Faith of the Heart” by Russell Watson. Seriously I can never get bored with this song.
To my surprise, it was not a bad show with Scott Bakula (from the Quantum Leap) as Captain Jonathan Archer assisted by a Vulcan, T’Pol as the Science Officer onboard. Unlike The Next Generation, the same storyline crosses over several episodes and even seasons so it does make it a bit boring to watch after a while.
Since this is the start, the Captain and the crew basically is on a learning process every time they meet a new threat or alien. So it does get painful to watch especially after one had watched all the other series.
Image source: Star Trek
My favourite character in this series would be Phlox, a Denobulan member of the Inter-Species Medical Exchange who comes aboard Enterprise as the Chief Medical Officer. He supposes to be onboard for only one mission but however stayed on when he found that the crew needs him and it is often fun to watch him. Phlox reminds me of Neelix and the Doctor from the Voyager and you can never get stressed out watching him.
By the way, this series finally solves the missing connection between Klingons looking like humans and Klingons looking well like Lt Worf.
This series only ran for 4 seasons with 98 episodes before it got cancelled abruptly which was not surprising considering how extended the core storyline continues in several episodes. One will wish to bypass some of the episodes. They could have expanded the series with a few more seasons with some change of the storyline format so as to tie some of the loose knots of the Original Series.
Image source: IMDB
Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 & 2 (Stardate 2255-2259)
This is the latest evolution of the TV series which is supposed to be between the Enterprise and the Original Series but somehow the starship Discovery here is more modern and sophisticated than the earlier Enterprise and the next Enterprise. This is one Star Trek series that has too many captains heading the same starships.
The USS Discovery (designation NCC-1031) is a Crossfield-class starship that was commissioned in the year 2250 with a total crew of 136. One key feature of this starship is the experimental spore drive which allows them to travel 90 light-years in 1.3 seconds.
The spore drive is impressive but why Starfleet did not equip other starships with the same technology? However, this was explained from this point of view:-
The spore drive was essentially abandoned by Starfleet because it was harming an ecosystem of aliens that lived within the mycelial network. This alien life-form infected a crew member of the Discovery and informed Paul Stamets that their mode of transportation was hurting their species.
The problem with this series is that it only focuses on only one key character – Michael Burnham, the science specialist of the USS Discovery. Yes, you have the other characters but their story is usually on the sideline or if there is one, you usually have the Michael Burnham butting in.
Don’t they have other capable officers in Starfleet other than the anti-establishment Michael Burnham who often disregard direct orders and gets too emotional when it comes to the last second of destruction? I lost count of the times when I wanted to throw her into the brig and throw away the keys.
Captain Philippa Georgiou played by Malaysian Michelle Yeoh who is the captain of the USS Shenzhou and gets killed in a battle with the Klingons (who again look different from the conventional Klingon). She comes back in the form of an emperor of the Terran Empire from a parallel world. She is one person who adds reality to the situation.
Image source: Trek Movie
The other and respectable character is Captain Saru played by Doug Jones and is Kelpien, the first to join the Starfleet. Seeing Captain Saru reminds me of the emotionless Spock and Data who is direct to the point and uses logic to make the next move. Saru is a strong believer of the Federation values and does anything to uphold them even when he has a gun pointed at his head.
Season 1 & 2 happens in the past whilst season 3 takes place 930 years into the future so we need to look at this series from 2 different views as the storyline moves into the next gear once they are in the future. The USS Discovery in the past can be weak and open to be manipulated by other aliens.
The visual effect is top-notch considering that it is the latest in the Star Trek series especially when USS Discovery ‘jumps” to the next destination. The bridge of the USS Discovery is larger, roomier now and bristling with new tech which is a big contrast with the USS Enterprise (designated NCC-1701) from the Original Series.
To be continued in Part 2…