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There are moments of smack-your-head stupidity in the show that would normally be the reserve of red-shirts alone, but in Discovery all of the characters make dumb decisions. We know the war with the Klingons will eventually be resolved and they will exist alongside the Federation more or less peacefully.
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The show looks fantastic, and has some fascinating ideas. Saru is clearly the best character in it and is a genuinely interesting alien race to add to the Star Trek canon — a species which, on its home world, is not the apex predator is something entirely new for the show to explore, and they do so well.
The show feels like a lot of early planning went into it, only for the episodes to be rushed out before the scripts were quite ready, the behind the scenes chaos original showrunner Bryan Fuller left the show during pre-production is visible on screen, which is a shame. The third episode was overburdened with so much exposition about Burnham being a mutineer that it felt like it was originally the pilot episode, and no-one bothered to re-write it after the two-part opener was added.
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The individual Klingon villains are stiff and uncharismatic. There are raw edges all over the place.
Star Trek shows have a history of being heavily character-based, with a vast number of characters, so the shows tend to warm up over time once the characters are established and the audience cares about them. Despite its heavily flawed start, Star Trek: Discovery definitely deserves its second season, and a chance to grow into itself.
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However, while Ro was reconsidering whether the myths were true, Seven seemed to consider only that myths may have value in providing meaning and assisting in our understanding of the world. Star Trek frequently depicts societies that initially seem like paradise, but are ultimately revealed to be unnatural, illusory or flawed.
This is in itself a celebration of diversity. Star Trek advances a commitment to self-determination, independence, freedom, equality, individual rights, responsibility and creativity. It promotes a naturalistic worldview, dedicated to using reason, science, and logic in understanding the universe, solving problems, and improving the human and alien condition.
It accepts universal ethical norms that transcend religion and culture. The authors have succeeded in identifying the influence of various schools of philosophy and ethics in Star Trek.
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Still, they fail to identify humanism as the unifying element. As philosophical naturalists, humanists reject the supernatural. It does not follow that humanists or Star Trek are hostile to religion.
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It is more accurate to say that they share an opposition to authoritarianism, dogmatism, irrationalism, and stagnant, outdated moral codes. Humanists do not reject all aspects of Christian ethics simply because they are religiously based. This was beneficial to the extent that it allowed further examination of religious issues. Unfortunately, Voyager too often degenerated into promoting a New Age spirituality that is anathema to humanism. I would welcome a sequel which examines other aspects of Star Trek , including the ethics of Starfleet and the principle which states that alien civilisations must be left to develop by their own lights, the Prime Directive.
Ken Marsalek is a member of the board of directors of the Council for Secular Humanism and a founding member and former president of Washington Area Secular Humanists.