TO BOLDLY SWEAT
How many centuries will it take before women can have hairy armpits on board a starship? That’s all I could think of while watching the first episode of Star Trek’s latest series, Discovery. Now showing in India on Netflix, the series begins on a desert planet, ten years before Mr Spock and Captain James T. Kirk begin their journey across the galaxy aboard the Enterprise. Two female Star Fleet officers, Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and First Officer Burnham (Sonequa MartinGreen), are plodding across the arid wastes. A monstrous sandstorm looms, but they’re transported to safety with make-up intact. By episode’s end, Burnham has been thrown into the brig for attempted mutiny and Star Fleet is on the brink of a raging battle with the Klingons. Ho-hum.
But Episode 2 really picks up the pace. The effects are sizzling, the Klingons are even more hideous than in previous Star Treks and the theme music is spectacular. And Burnham? Well, her eyelashes remain immaculate even after deadly radiation burns, but the way she forces the ship’s computer to release her from the brig is masterful. Plus, she’s a human brought up as a Vulcan and her mentor is none other than Spock’s father, Sarek. Just seeing him is enough to give all true Trekkies the chills.
The show’s regressive politics are distracting, of course. All the external authority figures are older white males, while the females are willowy, perfectly coiffed and never sweat. The Klingons, being the bad guys, have always been black as night. But in this series there’s one white-skinned Klingon. No surprise then that he’s really exceptional! Despite it all, however, enough of the old magic remains. If your dilithium crystal core is still intact, there’s really no option but to boldly go all the way to Season’s end.