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Star Trek: Discovery’s First Real Trailer Finally Drops

It’s been well over 18 months since CBS first announced that it would bring a new Star Trek TV show to television, and we’ve still only gotten bits and pieces of information about the first new Trek property on the small screen in over a decade. The show, Star Trek: Discovery, has been through several retoolings, including the addition (and departure) of Brian Fuller. Now, the first “real” trailer for the TV show has finally leaked — and while it answers some questions about the show’s premise and characters, it raises plenty of others.

Before you hit “Play” on the video, here are the salient facts to know: Star Trek: Discovery is set ten years before the events of the original series and takes place in the original timeline, not the alternate future the Romulan Nero created when he traveled back in time, killed George Kirk, and later destroyed Vulcan. Its lead character is Commander Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Unlike previous Star Trek shows, Discovery deliberately won’t focus on the captain (or space station commander) as its protagonist. Her nickname, “Number One,” is a deliberate homage to the character of the same name from the Star Trek pilot “The Cage,” as played by Majel Barrett. Burnham is human, but was raised on Vulcan by Vulcans, which explains some of the setting of the trailer.

For a television show that’s supposedly set in the original timeline, the sets and technology on display are ridiculously advanced looking. To some extent, this is a losing battle. The reason Star Trek looks the way it does is because that was the level of technology and prop manufacturing that 1960s television shows had to work with, not because Gene Roddenberry was attempting to freeze all future portrayals of 23rd century technology for all time. But for all the problems on TV shows like Enterprise, it did try to establish set pieces and technology portrayals that could arguably be said to occupy a midpoint between the future (relative to us) while still looking more primitive than the technology we saw on Star Trek itself.

This appears to be a ship named the Shenzhou, but the Internet is split on whether this ship is an updated model of the original CGI showcased over a year ago, or a completely different vessel.

If any DNA of the original Star Trek made it into Discovery at all, it’s not at all in evidence. Instead of the brightly colored uniforms of the 1960s show, everyone is wearing blue, as they did in Enterprise. Instead of individual emblems for each ship (something well-established in TOS), everyone is wearing the traditional Starfleet delta. Supposedly one reason why the Enterprise of the JJ Abrams reboot looked so advanced was because of technological advances Starfleet was able to make after it scanned Nero’s ship in the opening scenes of Star Trek. But if that timeline never happened, why do the ships of the pre-TOS era look like they should be starring in a Star Trek show set long after Voyager?

Also, there’d better be an extremely good explanation for the alien officer’s declaration, “My people were biologically determined for one purpose alone: to sense the coming of death.” First of all, who says “Biologically determined?” And second, who the hell would biologically design an entire species for the purpose of sensing “the coming of death?” Did John Edward somehow escape to an alternate reality and create a species of aliens to tell him when people were about to die, so he could lie to their relatives about contacting the other side?

When you scrape off the lens flare and the fancy graphics, there’s not a lot of story left in this trailer. That doesn’t mean the show won’t be good, but this trailer didn’t show us much more than the first one did.

Star Trek: Discovery will launch on CBS with a two-part premiere this fall and then weekly on CBS All Access. The first season will consist of 15 episodes.

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