I bitched about STD awhile ago on this blog, so if I were in charge of this series, what would it be?
Option 1: Embrace the Future
If I could start from scratch, I’d focus on an entirely new crew of original characters set in the post-Voyager federation.
“We need recognizable characters to get fans excited”, you say. “We want a woman of color as the main character!” you say. Sure, I can do that for you too.
Let me introduce you to the central character for this series:
… Molly O’Brien
The adorable daughter of Miles and Keiko is all grown up! Molly is the new bridge officer on the USS Discovery. The Discovery sets out on a mission to explore the galaxy with a new crew and maybe a grown-up familiar face or two: Commander Nog? Ensign Paris? You get the idea.
It would be about the crew and their relationships, sure, but the plots would be classic scifi stories where our crew would explore the galaxy and deal with messy galactic politics (maybe we get to catch up with ambassador Alexander? or see how the Vulcan/Romulan reunification movement is going?)
Most importantly, the crew would face difficult ethical situations. They would debate what to do when forced to choose between logic and emotion. Maybe Nog is the brash and emotional security officer and Molly acts as the voice of reason? Or the other direction, maybe Captain Icheb is too logical and Molly is the voice of compassion?
We can even have an Emmy baiting scene where Molly and Ensign Paris talk about growing up with mixed ancestry!
Each season can have multiple mini-arcs with one new adventure leading to the next. The new crew will be put to the test as they face new challenges and boldly go where no one has gone before!
I don’t know about you, but that is the Star Trek show, I want to watch!
But let’s assume that CBS says it must be a prequel and I have to use the Discovery set of characters. Okay, here’s what I would do:
Option 2: Highlight the Past
70 years before the Original Series, Sarek has just been named part of the governing council of a remote Human/Vulcan colony. They are attacked by the Tellarites (yes, the pig-faced aliens, go with me here) The Discovery is the only ship in range to hear the distress call. So Captain Georgiou and her crew come to the rescue.
They arrive, fight off the Tellarites, and save many of the settlers, but there are still heavy losses for both the civilians and the crew. Even though the Discovery won the fire-fight it took a lot of damage in the process, and will have to limp to the nearest starbase for repairs.
There CBS, you got your big budget explosions, to sell to the drooling masses. Now it’s time to tell stories.
On the Discovery, Georgiou brings Sarek’s attention the youngest survivor, little Michael Burnham. Michael so traumatized by the death of her parents that she won’t talk, and won’t eat. She can barely even sleep, suffering constant nightmares. Sarek mind melds with Michael to help her through the trauma and Michael finally gets a good night’s sleep.
The Discovery limps to the nearest space station for the first 1/2 of the season. Going from one bad situation after another. We meet members of the crew. A few of the colonists filling some missing ranks. Sarek himself slipping into a first-officer/ trusted advisor role for Georgiou as they face interesting scifi adventures along their path to the station.
B-plots should focus on character arcs. Most notably Sarek forming a bond with Michael and teaching her Vulcan meditation techniques to help her heal from her trauma, and Michael coming out of her shell. We can even have some good-natured ribbing with Georgiou teasing Sarek about becoming emotionally attached to Michael. In response, Sarek would just cock an eyebrow and question Georgiou’s logic.
When they get to the starbase, the Discovery goes in for repairs and we spend an episode or two dealing with repairs, the political fallout of the attack, and the future of Sarek’s colony.
At Georgiou’s prompting, Sarek goes to say goodbye to Michael before the little girl is sent back to earth. They find that Michael has completely withdrawn again. Sarek mind melds with Michael to understand what’s wrong. In her mind, Michael confesses her fears of being alone, that after the death of her parents she grew to count on Sarek, and she begs Sarek not to leave her alone now.
Sarek points out the “logical” conclusion that Michael was much better off under his care and inquires about becoming her legal guardian. While there is some hesitation about turning over a traumatized child to a member of an emotionless race, custody is eventually granted.
At no point does Sarek cry or outwardly show emotion. While claiming to be motivated by logic, his actions show his fatherly affection for Michael.
While all of this is going on, the Tellarites have applied for citizenship to Starfleet. Georgiou and Sarek object due to the attack on the colony. Naturally, the Tellarites deny Georgiou and Sarek’s version of events.
It looks like the Tellarites have enough votes to get in, but while the Federation is being wishy-washy, they are willing to listen to Georgiou and Sarak if they come to Federation headquarters in-person and share their concerns with the ambassadors before the vote. So it’s back on the Discovery in a race against time!
This is the season climax: The vote to let the Tellarites into the Federation, which we know Georgiou and Sarek will lose.
There is a sense of defeat on the Discovery. Georgiou and Sarek both know that if their reports were ignored, their personal pleas are unlikely to sway any votes. Still, they will try. The Tellarites set a trap to delay Discovery, knowing Georgiou would follow Starfleet protocol to the letter. She does and as a result, Georgiou dies.
In the end the Tellarites are accepted into the federation, so Georgiou died for nothing.
Sarek resigns from the Vulcan science council and starts pursuing a political career as a Starfleet ambassador, reasoning that it is the only way to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
We end the session with a time jump. A now grown-up Michael is asking to be transferred to the NEW Discovery. She explains that she joined Starfleet wanting to defend the Federation’s most remote outposts.
As she’s about to climb about the Discovery, she says goodbye to Sarek and we end with Sarek warning her that blind loyalty to Starfleet can get you killed, a callback to Georgiou, but also foreshadowing Michael’s eventual fate.
That’s my version anyway. What you would you do if you could write Discovery? Post your version in the comments below. I’d love to read it.