Star Trek: Discovery Shouldn’t Have Been Star Trek

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek discovery

It’s fair to say that Star Trek: Discovery has been divisive from the very beginning, with some fans claiming this is peak Trek and others arguing this is nothing like the franchise they know and love. However, I’ve got a take so hot you could use it to replace the warp core. The truth is that Discovery is filled with interesting characters and a killer premise, but the show would have been a universal crowd-pleaser if it had never been a Star Trek show.

There Would Be No More Crying About Canon

Just try to imagine stepping into a Mirror Universe (just not the one with the goatees) and finding a world where Star Trek: Discovery had never been part of Paramount’s famous franchise. For one thing, this would instantly get rid of all the fan complaints that this prequel show (initially set about a decade before The Original Series takes place) disrupts the Star Trek canon. The biggest controversy centered on the ship’s “spore drive” which allows it to bypass warp and go almost anywhere in the galaxy instantaneously, something that would have gotten the USS Voyager (which was built about a century later) home in one day.

No Need For The Jump To The Far Future

If Star Trek: Discovery had not been part of the franchise built by Gene Roddenberry, audiences could have better enjoyed it as a classical science fiction story dealing with the ramifications of new technology. Obviously, the ability to travel anywhere we want whenever we want has some amazing ramifications for everything from exploration to exploitation. But Discovery had to forcibly make everything fit into the existing Star Trek timeline, so we missed out on some potentially amazing stories in favor of a goofy storyline that brought the crew centuries into the future where they (conveniently enough) could no longer disrupt Trek canon as we know it.

More Room For Michael

star trek discovery

If Discovery had done its own thing, there would also have been far less controversy surrounding the main series character Michael Burnham. Some of the harsher Star Trek critics were annoyed by various aspects of the character, including her infamous mutiny (something The Original Series told us never happened in Starfleet history) and the fact that she was the unambiguous focus of every episode in a franchise built on ensemble cast storytelling. Had Discovery been its own franchise, the focus on Michael would have been natural: nobody criticizes shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Wynonna Earp, for example, when they focus on their respective title characters.

No Changes To The Klingons

star trek discovery

Finally, if Star Trek: Discovery wasn’t a Star Trek series at all, it could have built cool new villains instead of changing key elements of beloved alien races like the Klingons. To this day, hardcore fans argue online about how the Klingons in the show (especially season 1) aren’t really Klingons: they are bald, rely on weird science like putting Klingon minds in human bodies, and their entire war strategy revolves around dishonorable attacks. It frankly sucked to watch these episodes if you were a major Klingon fan from previous Star Trek shows, but Discovery as its own franchise could have built a compelling new alien race from scratch.

It’s Not Just Discovery

This isn’t a very uncommon notion when it comes to sci-fi productions: the awful sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, for example,  would have made for a fun horror movie centered around weaponized clone creatures, but it utterly failed as an entry into the fossilized franchise Steven Spielberg brought to life. Accordingly, Star Trek: Discovery is a show filled with a killer cast, innovative writers, and a top-notch effects team. If only it had never been a Trek series at all, this show would have been able to soar without the help of a spore drive.  

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