What I really like is the allowance for some character conflict...long overdue and certainly a longstanding struggle the writers always had promoted, with limited success, in the past.
I also like the emotional content, and hope more of the character interactions and story threads will allow this to deepen and become more complex. Otherwise it runs the risk of being a bit too one note in its emphasis. While the show need not be an ensemble piece, it will need some more characters to round it out or risk becoming too somber and narrow. (In fairness, I think think this will probably happen with some time, and setting a pace is not such a bad idea.)
OK, that was sort of a review, wasn't it? Well that's not the focus of this posting! While Discovery has made some changes in format for the better,somewhere there is someone trying to regurgitate old technobabble! I get it. It helps to have some language that has a thread of specificity to it, top make thing credible, but this Star Trek trope has got to stop!! Now!! What I am referring to is all of the goofy, overly precise predictions and numbers. This started with Spock (and is humorous in its own way and perhaps needed as an exaggeration in the 60s) but it also continued through all subsequent iterations of the show and now I have detected at least two incidents of it in the first 4 episodes of Discovery!
In Episode #1, Captain Georgiou and Michael Burnham are walking around this planet, worried about a storm front heading their way...
Georgiou: "How long until that storm comes crashing down on us?"Ooohhhh!!! Aren't we all fancy with our predictions today? Science! To the second, no less? Wow you must be pretty smart, Miss Burnham, having grown up on Vulcan and such. Training in those bubble pits. Cutting your hair so short. Jokin' around with those V-nerds after hours, eh? You can calculate pretty accurate! So accurate in fact that you know when the first grain of sand will hit your brow.Or is that the center of the storm will be upon you?Wait, how do you know second-by-second where the center of a storm will be? Doesn't it blow with the wind and vary a lot? Oh, maybe you were calculatin' all Vulcan like, using some parametric assumptions or rules of thumb,eh? That oughta impress your Captain. She won't think you have no judgement, and not understanding of tolerances. She will just set her watch by your prediction, because its the FUTURE! Oh wait,maybe she will think you are showing off when she thinks about how ridiculously precise you are being when it is meaningless once it is inside your tolerance!!
Burnham: "I estimate one hour, 17 minutes, 22 seconds."
OK, I don't know who it was who wrote that last paragraph but the point is clear to anyone with a scientific background. Anyone worth their salt would never provide a number like that. Sure, given some assumptions you can work out a number, but no one would use every little bit of precision, because the inputs, inherent variability, and and root assumptions can vary so much. A true scientist would understand these limits and constrain her comments to an accuracy based on these fuzzy factors. So Burham could have said, "An hour and 15 minutes." -- not "17 minutes" even, but "15 minutes", which has much more credibility and proportionality. It doesn't matter how high-tech the setting, some things just are not suited to that kind of accuracy. What's next, is she going to predict the next time someone sneezes, or how far a paper airplane will fly to a millimetre accuracy?
I get that some things can be predicted with accuracy, like satellites in motion in space, since there is little or no drag force, but part of that precision also can be attributed to the fast speeds relative to the tolerances of measurement. And then the distance traveled in one second can be pretty far.
They used to do it all the time in TNG. Life support count-downs to the second. What was going to happen? Lose gravity? Perhaps. Lose air? Not so fast. So they are saying that in one moment, all is well, and the next moment, everyone croaks. Reminds me of this Jerry Seinfeld stand-up bit about expiry dates on milk...
Now, this kind of talky-talk is the ultimate moniker for Trek-writer geekdom. I know many of these writers just inject the language to give it some sizzle, but where is their science advisor? I don't buy the idea that the extra precision makes for better drama--it just makes for hokey dialog and bounces me out of the story. In Discovery Episode 4, in worrying about a military attack, we get this one:
Saru: "In exactly five hours, 49 minutes and 46 seconds, the Klingons will take Corvan II."Well, he must know everything! How the attack is going to proceed, how many ships, number of bathroom breaks, how they will aim their guns, etc. How much better it would be, and just as dramatic (if not more so) for him to say, "In under 6 hours the Klingons will converge on Corvan II, and all will be lost." Keep the pressure, lose the trivia. And it's actually more scientific.
No wonder casual Trek viewers think it is stupid.
OK, time to get off the soap box. Would be fun to see how many examples we can all come up with.
And watch out for that expiring milk!