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Star Trek: Discovery Buzz: How Does the New Series Stack Up Against Other Treks?

The first reviews for the new CBS All Access series have finally arrived.

by | September 24, 2017 | Comments

Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru; Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham; Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (Jan Thijs/CBS Interactive)

The first reviews for Star Trek: Discovery have landed, and the series is proving a worthy entry in the Star Trek universe. The series has been Certified Fresh at 81% (updated) on the Tomatometer with 47 reviews. It’s a wonder CBS held to such a strict night-of embargo on reviews of the new series that debuted on Sunday — the celebrations could have started much sooner.

Fans took to social media to have their say on the series premiere, “The Vulcan Hello,” which aired on broadcast television. But CBS wasn’t done with them and ran episode 2, “Battle at the Binary Stars,” on its subscription streaming service CBS All Access, where the remaining episodes of the series will debut.

The series stars Sonequa Martin-Green (formerly of The Walking Dead) as First Officer Michael Burnham, serving under Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), who helms the USS Shenzhou. Jason Isaacs of the Harry Potter film franchise stars as Gabriel Lorca, captain of the USS Discovery.

The cast also includes: Doug Jones (Lieutenant Saru), Shazad Latif (Lieutenant Ash Tyler), Anthony Rapp (Lieutenant Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Cadet Sylvia Tilly), Chris Obi (T’Kuvma), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), James Frain (Ambassador Sarek), and Rainn Wilson (Harry Mudd).

Here’s a breakdown:


How does Star Trek: Discovery compare to other Trek series?

While Discovery is fundamentally quite different from much of the Trek that’s come before, its engagement with the franchise, and willingness to both celebrate and examine its core values, keep it true to that spirit.
– Liz Shannon Miller, indieWire

Breathe a sigh of relief, Star Trek fans: Discovery comes out of the gate at warp speed and oozes with storytelling potential.
– Dave Nemetz, TV Line

Despite being outfitted with some interesting wrinkles, Star Trek: Discovery is an unspectacular addition to the existing fleet of Trek-branded series.
– Brian Lowry, CNN.com

With a polished production, a complex plot, and several compelling characters already introduced, Discovery is off to a good start in transforming Trek on TV for a new era.
– Scott Collura, IGN Movies

Discovery is Star Trek for the real next generation, something that embraces the fandom, and allows for a fresh story to be told about the most hopeful, inclusive franchise in entertainment.
– Alexander Zalben, TV Guide


STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (Dalia Naber/CBS Interactive)

How does it compare to other sci-fi series?

This is light years removed from being a perfect TV show, but it already shows signs of being a great one.
– Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Magazine/Vulture

Star Trek is best when it’s hopeful, but hope shines brightest amid horror. On some level, Discovery knows both of those things, and that’s why it’s a show I’m eager to keep watching.
– Todd VanDerWerff, Vox



How does it hold up on its own?

At the end of the day, the interpersonal dynamics between the characters are just as interesting as the space travel and aliens.
– Chris Harnick, E! Online

It seems like we’re getting just another grimdark war show, this one slapped with the Star Trek brand, but having little to do with that brand’s core ideas.
– Don Kaye, Den of Geek

Star Trek: Discovery has every chance from here to become something great, possibly even awards worthy.
– Merrill Barr, Forbes


Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou; Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (Jan Thijs/CBS Interactive)

How well is it directed?

With its level of talent and commitment, Star Trek: Discovery has a decent chance of getting on course to complete its mission.
– Bill Keveney, USA Today

If I had any criticism of what is after all a giant gift horse, it would be that a certain lightness is missing from the initial episodes. This is remedied in the third, even as things get weird and spooky, so I am good. Live long and prosper.
– Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times


Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (Best Possible Screengrab/CBS Interactive)

How are the performances?

The actor playing this mysterious Gabriel Lorca — Jason Isaacs — also happens to be a major talent who instantly lifts Martin-Green’s game. These two appear to be a winning, multidimensional combo.
– Verne Gay, Newsday

Discovery has to stand as Discovery and this is a disorienting start… So that really puts everything on Sonequa Martin-Green, at least for me, and even as great as she is, I’m not sure if she’s enough.
– Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

This feels like a show struggling to find its heart. But at least Martin-Green gives it a pulse.
– Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly

While Sonequa Martin-Green carries does much of the heavy lifting, she is not alone. The supporting cast is incredibly charming and immediately places the viewer in the comfortably familiar milieu of Star Trek.
– Dan Casey, Nerdist


How are the special effects?

Despite the concessions to modern TV storytelling and effects, Discovery feels like a Star Trek show — at times one with the potential to be quite good.
– Alan Sepinwall, Uproxx

As a lifelong Trek fan, I’m happy to report that the nail-bitingly tense premiere delivered a cracking good action story, eye-popping special effects and a number of gasp-worthy twists.
– Dave Nemetz, TV Line


How are the Klingons?

On this show, the Klingons wear Hellraiser costumes, and their spaceships look like Antoni Gaudí dreamscapes.
– Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
The critical reaction will continue rolling in — follow them here — but what did you think? Take our poll below or tell us in the comments!

Star Trek: Discovery premiered Sunday, Sept. 24 on CBS and the network’s streaming platform CBS All Access. Subsequent episodes will be released weekly on CBS All Access. 


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