Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Star Trek Discovery launches a new vision for the franchise that is familiar yet different

Star Trek has been a huge impact to the scifi geek community worldwide. The franchise has spawned 5 television series, 13 movies and 1 animated series. Star Trek started out as a television series in 1966 for 3 seasons before being revived as a movie in 1979, thanks in no small part to the blockbuster success of Star Wars. More movies then followed together with multiple TV spin-offs: The Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine (DS9), Voyager, Enterprise. The last series Enterprise ended in 2005, leaving fans devoid of Star Trek on TV for over a decade... until NOW. Star Trek fans, or Trekkies, of all generations can join on adventures where no one has gone before with the release of Star Trek Discovery early this week!

Star Trek: Discovery is co-created by Bryan Fuller (Star Trek DS9 & Voyager) and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek 2009 reboot & Into Darkness, Transformers) for CBS, a US media corporation currently custodian of the Star Trek franchise. The series lead goes to Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead) as Starfleet Commander Michael Burnham. The support cast includes Doug Jones (Hellboy) as Lt. Saru, Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as Captain Phillipa Georgiou, James Frain (The Lone Ranger) as Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, Shazad Latif (Spooks) as Lt. Ash Tyler, Anthony Rapp (A Beautiful Mind) as Lt. Paul Stamets, Jason Issacs (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) as Captain Gabriel Lorca, Mary Wiseman (Baskets) as Cadet Sylvia Tilly and Chris Obi (American Gods) as Klingon leader T'Kuvma. Since the departure of Bryan Fuller in November last year, Executive Producers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts currently serve as showrunners for the series, i.e. the ones with overall creative authority and management authority, or figuratively the joint-Captains of Star Trek Discovery.

Behind-the-scenes featurette.

This new series is yet another prequel ("can we not finally move forward in the timeline?" - editor's rant) that takes place 10 years before Kirk and Spock begin their missions in The Original Series. It is is not affected by the reboot films (Star Trek, Into Darkness, Beyond) which have since been classified as the Kelvin timeline. Therefore taking place in the Prime timeline, the adventures of Discovery occur in the time-span between Enterprise concluding in the year 2161 and The Original Series commencing in 2266; let's not get into stardate namenclature, it's just confusing!

Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham (centre), Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou (right) and Doug Jones as Lt. Saru on the bridge of the USS Shenzhou.
The main protagonist Michael Burnham is a human black woman raised on Vulcan as a ward of Ambassador Sarek; yes Spock's father. Michael (show creator Bryan Fuller likes assigning female characters male names) has since joined Starfleet at the urging of her adoptive father and progressed to the position of First Officer of U.S.S. Shenzhou, serving under Captain Phillipa Georgiou for the last 7 years. So begins the pilot episode of the series "The Vulcan Hello".
The opening title sequence of Star Trek Discovery is departure from the typical starship flybys of preceding series (Enterprise excepted).

Introducing the Starfleet crew circa 2256:

Senoque Martin Green as Commander Michael Burnham, First Officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou.
As a result of her Vulcan upbringing, she maintains an air of cool logic with emotions held in check yet not totally suppressing them unlike true Vulcans. Burnham is a Xenoanthropologist and inherently a first contact specialist.

Malaysia's Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh as Captain Phillipa Georgiou of the U.S.S. Shenzhou.
She is a veteran of war and Michael Burnham's Starfleet mentor.

TV trivia: Most US TV productions task their cast to speak English in American accents. As a departure from this norm, Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou retained her polished Chinese-Malaysian accent as a statement on global diversity in the hopeful future. Read more into this from an article on SyFyWhilst here in Malaysia we are much accustomed to this as her normal accent, Americans may be just tempted to flick on the English subs to catch every word!
"Easter Egg" found! Captain Georgiou keeps a piece of asian culture in here ready room / office. Can you spot it? Read more about this at

Doug Jones as Lt. Saru, Science Officer on the Shenzhou.
Saru is a Kelpian, an alien species that has the ability to sense threats including rather pessimistic premonitions of death.

Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca of the U.S.S. Discovery.
A brilliant tactician with a decisive charisma but he hides some secrets.

Anthony Rapp as Lt. Paul Stamets on the Discovery.
An Astromycologist by training means Stamets specializes in space fungus ("seriously how useful is that going to be?" - editor's rant)

Shazad Latiff as Lt. Ash Tyler, Security Officer of the U.S.S. Discovery.

Mary Wiseman as Cadet Sylvia Tilly.
A final year cadet of the Starfleet Academy working in Engineering of the Discovery.

Listen directly from the Starfleet crew themselves as they introduce the mission of Star Trek Discovery.

James Frain is Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan.
Father to the soon to be infamous half-Vulcan Mr. Spock, and adoptive father to Michael Burnham.

In every incarnation of Star Trek, the lead starship (or space station in case of DS9) is every bit a character by itself. The starship brings our Starfleet heroes to adventures where no one has gone before and often times is an adventure itself.

U.S.S. Discovery NCC-1031.
The lead starship of the namesake series is captained by Gabriel Lorca. Nothing much is known about this starship yet of its capabilities ("although it could be used as a giant space pizza cutter!" - editor's rant). Fan speculation suggests it is one of Starfleet's newer starships and conceivably fast with its lengthy warp nacelles. This speculative video by Hybrid Network might provide more insights:

U.S.S. Shenzhou NCC-1227, Walker-class starship.
The other major Starfleet vessel to feature in this series is the U.S.S. Shenzhou, commanded by Phillipa Georgiou. It is designated a Walker-class starship and apparently an older model, although how then its registration number of NCC-1227 exceeds that of the Discovery's NCC-1031 may indeed suggest otherwise. Unusually the bridge for this class of starship is located at the bottom of the saucer section.
The Shenzhou in atmospheric flight.
It's no spoiler that Klingons feature heavily in this series and looks to provide the over-arching plot. At the start of the serious, relations between The Federation and The Klingon Empire is icy, unlike most of the TNG era where both are staunch allies. There are 24 Great Houses in the empire and whereby a formidable leader T'kuvma steps forth attempting to unite them all against the Federation.

Chris Obi is Klingon T'Kuvma.

Outcast albino Klingon V'oq serves T'Kuvma as his devote right hand.
What, those are Klingons? We have seen the smooth forehead Klingons from TOS evolve to their bumpy forehead versions in TNG, explained as side-effects of genetic engineering gone wrong in the Enterprise series. Then Klingons in the JJ Abrams Kelvin timeline sported another variant. Now here is yet another variant of Klingon in Star Trek Discovery looking even more alien. And not just in physical look but also dress (ouch, spikey!) and cultural look (organic ships?). No clues yet as to whether this will be explained over the course of the series in a logical explanation acceptable to fans. Read more about the new Klingon look in this article by USA today.

REMAIN KLINGON: A cool Klingon trailer version for Star Trek Discovery as seen from their perspective!

There are many more Klingon characters and look towards which ones to be the major antagonists as the series progresses. Oh, in Klingon scenes, our Klingons now fully speak Klingon! Worry not there are subtitles provided... in fact each episode contains Klingon subtitles for our English-speaking characters!

Star Trek Discovery is now available to us here in Malaysia via Netflix. New episodes will be released on Mondays at approximately 3pm Malaysian time. There are 15 episodes for this season with the first 8 scheduled until 6 November 2017. After a mid-season break, the remaining episodes commence on January 2018.

The first two episodes of the series has been released this Monday 25 September 2017. Here are initial reactions for episode 1 "The Vulcan Hello" & episode 2 "Battle at the Binary Stars" during a mini-viewing party for Malaysian Trekkies by Outpost (no spoilers):

This two episodes can be seen as a pilot to the new series, introducing some key characters and the tone for the season. For a more in depth look into Star Trek Discovery, watch our video review hosted by Vulcan cultural officer Mr. Smock with local Trekkies Thomas Kuan and Chow F.C. aka Mr. Engineer:

Here are snippets of what to look forward to in the coming episodes including the U.S.S. Discovery in action (beware MAJOR SPOILERS if not yet watched first 2 episodes):

Now for some goodies to our valued readers!


Thanks for Netflix, we have more GOODIES to GIVEAWAY! Up for grabs we have 3 complimentary 3-month subscriptions for Netflix so you Trekkies can watch Star Trek Discover legit. Also 1 lucky winner with receive a Netflix tote bag, notebook, lanyard, and pen.

To stand a chance to win this Outpost Giveaway, just follow these few simple steps:
  • Like our Facebook Page Outpost Productions.
  • Like / Wow / Love this Facebook post.
  • Share the Facebook post to your timeline (set privacy to public) with reasons why your friends should watch Star Trek Discovery, .e.g. I want to watch Star Trek Discovery to see Michelle Yeoh as a Starfleet Captain.
  • Include in your shared post hashtags #StarTrekDiscovery #Netflix #OutpostGiveaway.
  • Join local Trekkies on Facebook Group Starbase MY - Star Trek Fans Malaysia
  • Fill in your details in the form below which include permalink to your shared post.
This contest will be closing on Monday 2 October 2017, 11.59pm. winers will be notified. So make sure to follow us and stay tuned!

Other Terms & Conditions:
a. Participants must be resident in Malaysia.
b. Giveaways comprise 1 tote bag with Netflix gift card (main prize), and 2 Netflix gift cards (consolation) for total 3 winners.
c. Winner of tote bag must be able to arrange self-collection of prize within 2 weeks of notification. Collection point will be in Klang Valley.
d. Only 1 entry per person.
e. Submission to Join the Facebook Group Starbase MY - Star Trek Fans Malaysia must be received before closing deadline.
f. Selection of winners are final
g. We reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions without prior notice.


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Disclaimer: Star Trek and other trademarks are copyright to CBS and/or Paramount, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

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