'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 2 Fights for the Future of the Franchise

The latest trailer for 'Star Trek: Discovery' does everything it can to re-align the series to Gene Roddenberry's vision.

Star Trek Discover Season
CBS All Access

The latest trailer for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 begins with Ethan Peck’s hot and bearded Mr. Spock declaring, “There is a great responsibility at hand.” Boy, he’s so dang right on that one. CBS All Access has already put a lot of faith into the franchise that Gene Roddenberry built, and they’re only praying harder in 2019. Not only is Discovery continuing its mission into a second season, but they’re gearing up to launch the Captain Picard spinoff, the Michelle Yeoh spinoff, and an all-new animated adventure.

Showrunner Alex Kurtzman said recently that they plan always to have a Star Trek series running at some point on CBS All Access. While Star Trek has survived in numerous iterations over the past 50-plus years, Trekkies like myself have often had to find nourishment in the tiniest of morsels. IDW Comics and various novelizations have gotten the job done, but the idea that we’ll always have a series or a short film (a la their current burst of exceptional Short Treks) to consume on the streaming platform seems almost unbelievable.

As the first Star Trek television series in 12 years, Discovery was bound to receive some skepticism from the fanbase (not from us, though, we’ve been championing its serialized approach to the final frontier since the very first episode). Comments that the show is too dark or not in tune with what the original series that birthed this whole shebang has traveled beside Discovery since its launch. Now that Kurtzman is steering the ship, and with Ethan Peck, Anson Mount, and Rebecca Romijn flying into the rescue aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, the second season appears to be making a serious effort to regain some of those noisy doubters.

Mr. Spock is clearly aware of the responsibility of carrying on the legacy of Star Trek, and CBS All Access proves with this trailer that they are absolutely listening to their fanbase. I just hope they don’t forget about those that were already won over by Season 1. As you will see below, this business with the red angels and Section 31 may lead to a shattering of universes.

The Discovery already crossed the other side of the looking glass in the first season when they breached the mirror universe using their spore drive. Here we see seven bursts of energy have erupted across the  galaxy and each one is accompanied by an alien being called a “Red Angel.” One of these creatures revealed an apocalyptic vision to Mr. Spock, and he cannot shake the terror of the sight. All sentient life will end.

The Klingon War is trumped by Armageddon. Only Spock’s step-sister, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her Discovery crew can aid in his plight. The psychologically challenged split-being that is Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) fears that there is no hope, but Captain Pike (Anson Mount) is there to remind him what Trekkies already know: “We are always in a fight for the future.” Whiz, bang, pow.

These last batch of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 trailers have leaned hard into the fun of adventure. I am down for that and I share that little smile that Spock lets slip at the end of this trailer. Star Trek has been and always should be thrilling. However, what I appreciated about the first season was that Discovery was not afraid to look bleak and challenge the ethos of Gene Roddenberry.

Obvious kowtowing to those ideals does not benefit the franchise. Without a little pushback from the darker aspects of humanity, Star Trek: Discovery could never have achieved Mr. Saru’s (Doug Jones) climactic Season 1 outpouring of Federation pride, “We are Starfleet.” The cheer that line raised only worked because we had spent a season under the thumb of the ruthless Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs). Even the audience should live by Pike’s command of “Be bold, be brave, be courageous.”

Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.