Creator Bryan Fuller has created Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal, American Gods, and worked on Star Trek: Voyager and Deep Space Nine, while his co-creator Alex Kurtzman has the J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek remakes among his diverse action-packed cinematic resume. So, their collaboration made perfect sense for CBS All-Access’ first unique series, Star Trek: Discovery, the prequel to the original series that explores the war between the Federation and their enemies, the Klingons.
Science specialist Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green) is a human who’d been raised by Vulcans, but her claim to fame is that she mutineered, caused the war with the Klingons, and then winds up recruited by Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) to explore space. Joining them on the Discovery are Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) as Kelpian First Officer Saru, Shazad Latif as Klingon-turned-human Security First Officer Ash Tyler, Anthony Rapp’s Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman’s cadet Sylvia Tilly, and Wilson Cruz’s Medical Officer Hugh Culber.
Several elements of Discovery are different from what we might expect from a Star Trek series. Burnham is not the captain, but is still the main character, or at least the driving focus of the series; Culbert and Stamets are an openly gay couple who are at the center of the ship and the dynamics which will play out over the course of the season; Tilly’s role as a cadet is not ostracized but rather used to show a different vantage point of what it means to be part of the Federation universe. And then there’s the whole bit where the producers/creators strove to make sure that the human and Klingon worlds weren’t portrayed as good versus evil.
While we already know that the show has been renewed for another season, the dynamics here run far deeper than any of the first few series could claim to. This is about race, class, gender, relationships, and, love. It’s not an episodic show that refuses to dig deeper but one that challenges us to dig deeper, while flying around in space.