Star Trek Discovery Season 2 is in production, and Trek fans are wondering where the series will go next. Most agree that Discovery‘s first season was decent, and definitely helped fuel enthusiasm about Star Trek. But, the first half of its run had trouble finding its footing. While Discovery definitely started feeling a bit more Trek as the season went on, the resolution of the Federation-Klingon War was a bit contrived, and the show has a lot to prove moving into season 2.
Discovery isn’t the first Star Trek series to have a rocky start. The Next Generation‘s first season was full of goofiness and cringeworthy plots and effects. However, the show found its footing in the second season and amazing stories like “Elementary, Dear Data,” “A Matter of Honor,” and “The Measure of a Man,” are some of the most memorable of the shows run. However, with Discovery‘s lower per-season episode count, and serial plot construction, the latest Trek has more stacked against it than TNG.
We’ve thought out the best-case and the worst-case scenarios for Star Trek Discovery Season 2. We’ve tried to keep these as plausible as possible, so we haven’t listed anything too far-fetched.
Best-Case: Michael Stops Monologuing and Lets the Rest of the Crew Talk
I was skeptical when Soniqua Martin-Green was cast as the main character of Star Trek Discovery. I think her acting on The Walking Dead is stilted and poor for the most part, so I was a bit quick to judge on how she would perform as Michael Burnham. Star Trek‘s leads have always been strong actors with formidable talent, and although I don’t think Martin-Green is anywhere in the neighborhood of Avery Brooks, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, or William Shatner, I think that she definitely beats out Scott Bakula.
However, one thing more than any other factor kept me from liking Michael Burnham. Just when I’d start getting into her as a character, the camera would zoom in, and she’d begin dramatically whispering some “inspiring” monologue. I don’t know what the writers behind some of these episodes were thinking, but some of the hokeyness of Burnham’s dialog makes it obvious why the showrunners of Discovery have been kicked to the curb multiple times. No one talks like that. Not now, and not in the future.
Star Trek has always been about the ensemble cast. I mean who was the main character in Star Trek: TNG? All of them were. Riker, Picard, Worf, Data, Wesley, Beverly, Troi, and Geordi all had episodes where they were the star, and most episodes gave multiple characters a chance to take the spotlight. Hell, even people like transporter chief O’Brien and Reginald Barcley got a ton of face time. Unfortunately, Discovery has failed miserably at replicating this recipe for success.
Do you even know the bridge crew on Discovery? There’s Lieutenant Rhys, Lt. Commander Airiam, Lieutenant Owosekun, Comms Officer R.A. Bruce, and Comms Office Milton Richter. They’ve all been seen on the bridge multiple times, but did you know any of their names? Even Lieutenant Keyla Detmer, who was on the Shenzhou and the Discovery as a crewmember only gets a camera pan every once in a while.
Honestly, the whole bridge crew is probably gun shy because they know if Burnham makes her way up there then it’s time for another semi-sensical monologue about how hard it was to be a human child on Vulcan or something. Hopefully, for Discovery season 2 the writers will let the rest of the cast have a chance to come into center stage and not just be props so Burnham can wax poetic about overcoming adversity.
Worst-Case: Spock Becomes a Recurring Character
From the teaser, we know that Spock is going to play a part in season 2’s arc. How significant of a role is anyone’s guess. The teaser seemed to indicate he’d be at the root of whatever galactic catastrophe the Discovery and/or Enterprise would be facing off against, but it could also be a massive red herring. Season one didn’t really give any indication that the Mirror Universe would be a significant part of the plot early on, so season two could take us anywhere.
That being said, having Spock become a center point of Discovery‘s story is a huge mistake. The various showrunners of Discovery have stated they want to make their own impression on the canon, and this is a horrible path to go down if they want to do that.
Of course, given the upheaval at the highest levels of production, its no wonder things seem confused. Bryan Fuller seemed to want to cast Star Trek in his own image, then once he was thrown overboard, the show started returning to the more familiar territory of the Mirror Universe and began referencing previous Trek much more heavily.
There’s a fine line, though. Michael Burnham being Sarek’s adopted daughter is already treading too close to established character histories. Slipping Discovery ten years before The Original Series has been rough enough already without dabbling with characters that have had 60 years of established history. Leave Spock alone and make your own stories.
We’ve seen Spock, Spock has done his thing, and it’s time to let Discovery stand on its own two feet. Pike and the Enterprise can be fun, but just have Spock be on shore leave somewhere and let’s focus on the characters we’ve already got.