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The initial announcement of Star Trek: Discovery looked very promising. Unfortunately, the news has not been as good since then.

First of all, the first teaser showed some lackluster CGI effects, but I was willing to dismiss that as being evident of the show's early prouction. But then news kept getting worse. Bryan Fuller stepped down as the showrunner, CBS repeatedly stated that the show won't be an anthology (even though an anthology would be a great idea), and the show was delayed from January to March. Now it's been delayed again - this time indefinitely. The delays appear to be related with CBS's in ability to get its streaming service off the ground, delays in casting, and scheduling conflicts with those who have been cast.

But production has started, and the first teaser trailer has come out.

A behind the scenes teaser gives a look at uniforms, sets, possible ship redesigns, and the captain's chair.

The first thing that stood out to me is the tease of the new uniforms, which resemble a combination of the Star Trek: Enterprise uniforms, and the cadet uniforms from the rebooted Star Trek movies. But there's a huge flaw in this uniform: the breast badge is the delta shield. Since this is a prequel to the original series, this uniform is unlikely to belong to an Enterprise crew member, even though that delta shield was unique to the Enterprise in the original series.

Star Trek Discovery - delta shield
The Discovery teaser shows a delta shield badge on a pre-TOS uniform - which is a Star Trek faux pax.

In the Original Series, each ship, starbase, or installation had its own unique mission badges, similar to contemporary NASA missions. This was a detail that even Star Trek: Enterprise got right! But the Abrams reboot, and now the new Discovery series have broken with this detail, making the uniforms anachronistic within established series' canon.

Each ship, starbase, or installation in The Original Series had its own unique mission patch, inspired by NASA missions.

By the time of The Next Generation, Starfleet had adopted a single insignia for the use of its communicator badges, which was based on the Enterprise 1701's mission insignia. Of course, this badge was a piece of technology, rather than a simple patch on a shirt, so there could have been technical limitations that required the adoption of a single insignia.

Since seeing the trailer and writing this post, it has come to my attention that I may have over-reacted to the insignia. The presence of this insignia may be a reference to the possibility that the lead character of the show is going to be the first officer from the original Star Trek pilot. This character was played by Majel Barrett (who later went on to protray Nurse Chapel), and this character was un-named, and was only called "Number One"). So this character would have previously served onboard the U.S.S. Enterprise with Captain Pike. Perhaps this insignia is on Captain Pike's uniform?

Either way, the fact that this insignia is still being used as the show's insignia bothers me, as the show is called "Star Trek: Discovery". The insignia for the show should be the Discovery's insignia, and the Discovery should have an insignia all its own. But this insignia is dangerously close to the original Enterprise's

It may seem like a minor detail, and I may seem like one of those annoying nitpicky fans, but screwing up details like this shows [to me] that the producers aren't putting the care and attention into the show that it deserves. Either they're ignorant, they're lazy, they just don't care, or they're simply trying to cash in on the fact that the insignia is a recognizable symbol. The early promotional material used this insignia as the series' logo, but I dismissed that as a simple show logo, rather than being representative of the show's uniforms. Perhaps I should have thrown a fit back then, before the show had started filming. Now, it's probably too later, as the show is currently in production and filming.

Other clips from the teaser show some sets being constructed, a ship model, and the new captain's chair. The new ship is a second point of concern. It looks like the U.S.S. Discovery might be getting a redesign. I don't like it. It doesn't look very fitting for a pre-Original Series ship. It lacks the red, spinning bussard collectors, and it just looks too militaristic. I liked the original Discovery design just fine; I just thought that the CGI looked unconvincing. It's possible that the Discovery's design isn't changing, as the trailer also shows some artwork depicting the original Discovery model. So is this wireframe belonging to a new ship? Even if the Discovery design is being retained, and this model belongs to a different ship, I still feel like it looks too aggressive and militaristic.

Star Trek Discovery - new ship wireframe
Is the U.S.S. Discovery getting a redesign?

This new teaser doesn't show much. But the few details that it does show just look wrong and disappointing to me. Maybe these possible flaws will turn out to be false alarms, and the show will still be good and faithful to the source material. I certainly hope so. But when I combine this with the troubled production behind the scenes, my optimism and excitement about this show has been almost completely squashed.

Comments (1) -

07/22/2017 11:58:24 #

I am in total agreement. If Discovery applied the same respect and thoughtfulness as they did to the design of their excellent phaser, to everything else visual in the show then I would be looking forward to the series. But the insignia is a giant flaw. The insignia, the militant focus of the trailer, the look for the ship with the Aztec pattern that didn't exist until TNG (unless you count Enterprise which I try hard to forget), not to mention the Klingons (and yes I know this was done in Enterprise, but again, they should know repeating anything Enterprise did is a mistake), all caused me actually to cancel my streaming subscription. It may be true that Star Trek on two or three occasions out of hundreds and hundreds of episodes, mistakenly used the Delta insignia for non-Enterprise crew in Kirk's time, but those were errors and they were extremely rare. To adopt a giant mistake as the symbol of the entire Discovery series and to use that insignia on all the uniforms at a time when each ship had its own insignia, is incredibly disappointing.

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