Those throwing shade at the new Star Trek probably never understood the old Star Trek.
It wasn't about the length of the mini skirts or having a womanizing captain...it was about telling original sci-fi stories.
And the LSD hyped free-hippy-love optimism of the late 60s early 70s doesn't translate well on-screen in today's world without coming off as impolite, sexist, and a bit out of touch with reality.
Yes, the series is dark (due to its naturally lit sets, obviously). Yes, it's serialised rather than episodic. Yes, it follows an outcast rather than a captain and his sidekick. And, yes, the Klingons look different, yet again (hey, they have in every incarnation of the series, go figure).
But these are all things that make it different from the rest. And, sure, they could have gone with the standard template of the bright, optimistic, artificially lit Star Trek that has endured for so long. But it would have crashed and burned like so many of Kirk's Enterprises.
Doing the same old, same old, would have utterly failed. You know how I know this? Because they made Enterprise. It was the most derivative of all the Star Trek series, trying to be like TNG, but also TOS, but also tipping its hat to VGR, while doing more serialised segments like DS9. It wanted to be everything all at once and so ultimately became a bland, derivative, piece of space junk. Enterprise has not only one of the worst pilots I've ever seen in television history, it has absolutely the worst finale of any TV series I've ever seen. And I have seen more than my fair share.
So anything that was going to be like the Star Trek of the past was doomed to failure. It needed a fresh perspective by storytellers who weren't afraid to push the limits of the franchise and boldly go where no Star Trek series has gone before.
Star Trek Discovery is THAT series.
So hate on it all you want. It has probably the strongest pilot of any of the Treks--including STNG. Its cast is superb. It's touching on very interesting sci-fi concepts. Its visual effects are cinematic quality. Its production design is equal to that of a major Hollywood blockbuster. But it still contains stories about people at its core.
And if you don't like STD, that's fine. But just realise you're on the losing side of Star Trek history. People complained about STNG. The cast was unfamiliar, the series was different, it wasn't Kirk! It was about to fail. Right?
People hated DS9 when it came out. It was just copying Next Gen but it was on a stupid ole space station. Couldn't tell a good story there, right?
Voyager got a lot of hate too. And not because it has a woman captain, but because--if you recall--it was just trying to be like the original Star Trek with lots of new aliens. Major bore, right?
Yet, everyone one of these series became canon and became beloved of sci-fi fans everywhere. Even non-Trekkies.
Enterprise is also canon, and has some strong episodes, but was overall too derivative to be its own thing. It was always winking at all the other Trek's, and although great fan service for die-hard Trekkies, nobody else cared. The series was promptly cancelled. And rightly so.
Now we have Star Trek Discovery. And it is hitting all the right notes. It is doing what Enterprise so utterly failed to do--be its own thing. And be original. And still be Star Trek.
Feel free to disagree, but history will prove you wrong. Just as it did with all the above incarnations of the series.
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.