The Mandalorian vs Star Trek Discovery

If you have seen Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker, you might started to ask some questions at the end, such as: why is there an ancient knife that has the same shape as the recently crashed remnants of the Death Star? Why were there ten thousand Star Destroyers built under the crust of a planet? Why navigate a dangerous nebula to reach that planet when you might as well fly around it? Why do all these Star Destroyers rely on a single little antenna to navigate their way out of the atmosphere into space? Why does nothing make sense?

And then you might watch The Mandalorian TV series and suddenly you’re allowed to use your brain again. The stories are simple again. Little setups, little middles and little endings, all neatly wrapped up in half an hour. The characters are interesting and lovable again. There are no false moments of extreme emotion give an illusion of epic-ness. Emotion is small, nuanced, cute. The story has room to breathe. There is no constant yelling and screaming, what a relief. There is time for cinematography. 

It’s not that The Mandalorian is a masterpiece for the ages. It’s just that we’ve gone so long without real, old-fashioned proper filmmaking and storytelling in the Star Wars universe that I feel like crying. My Blofeld, my author of all my pain, is JJ Abrams with his hack mystery box writing.

And then we come to Star Trek: Discovery (and Star Trek: Picard), created by Abrams acolyte Alex Kurtzman. Star Trek is still stuck in the Rise of Skywalker phase of franchise reboots. Star Trek hasn’t managed to free itself from the Abrams nightmare world of storytelling, hasn’t been granted its Mandalorian yet. Oh, how it aches!

I just watched the third season of Star Trek Discovery, in the hope that it would grow beyond its previous seasons. That it would ditch the hectic, swirling lens flare style, that the story would make sense, that its characters would act consistent according to their motivations, that its characters would deepen out and don’t pop up and disappear from the series in a lack of vision, and that it would stop trying to simulate real storytelling with emotional tearjerking scenes that it hadn’t earned. I hoped it would stop using identity politics as a crutch to earn accolades, and would start earning them through good writing. 

But alas. Star Trek is stuck in the reboot phase where producers think that its pre-established fanbase is so large that they can produce whatever they want and people will see it regardless. They can ignore whatever films or series came before, start with a clean slate, to bring in new viewers, even if new material is just about completely divorced from the style and content of earlier shows.

Please give us a Star Trek Mandalorian. Please. I need it. I need to believe that writers still know how to write a good story. That they know how to create characters and how to let them grow and to earn emotional moments. And how to write a science fiction story that isn’t full of logical holes and disappointing conclusions to mystery box bullshit.

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16 Responses to The Mandalorian vs Star Trek Discovery

  1. Bookstooge says:

    Aint going to happen. Mando is a fluke that disney will kill soon enough, dont you worry…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ola G says:

    I actually stopped watching Discovery S03 after one episode, it was so bad. I only liked the first season, which at least was intriguing and had Jason Isaacs who’s always a pleasure to watch; the second season seemed to run away from its creators and every subsequent episode was just worse than the previous one – not to mention what I perceived as a subversion of ST ideals. The while mess is not helped by the main character who’s an emotional wrecking mess and is simply badly acted – my head aches when I see this actress trying to portray emotions beyond baring teeth.

    As for the Mandalorian, I think it’s an instant classic and I love it to bits! 😀 It’s smart, emotional, nuanced, without easy answers but with everlasting hope and patches of well-placed optimism in face of threat and hard choices – a piece of life in SW decorations, and it seems this is what we all sorely needed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mandalorian is good writing for a good Star Wars story. Now we need writing that would be good for a Star Trek story. In any case, we need to move beyond the hack writing that characterises the first Disney Star Wars sequels and the new Star Trek shows. I think Star Wars found some kind of answer in the Mandalorian. Now Star Trek needs one too. I also can’t stand the acting in Discovery.

      I wonder though what the Mandalorian will bring without Baby Yoda. He was an essential part of it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ola G says:

        I’m still hopeful Baby Yoda will come back – maybe not for the whole season, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of him 😀

        Have you watched SW Rebels? Filoni who was creator there is co-creator for The Mandalorian – so I’m pretty certain there’ll be Ezra Bridger and Thrawn coming up, and maybe some other characters from that show, too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I haven’t watched SW Rebels but I know about Thrawn. I don’t know about Ezra Bridger. It sounds like a good thing that creators from the expanded universe are involved. What I heard was that there is going to be a spinoff series about Ahsoka Tano, and she was searching for Thrawn so I think Thrawn will pop up in the Ahsoka series. What is also possible is this: Disney mentioned that the Mandalorian, Ahsoka and new Rangers of the New Republic will all come together and culminate in a “storytelling event”. This event could be about Thrawn.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ola G says:

            Yeah, I’m kinda worried about it – don’t think Disney has it in them to make a good SW story, let alone “a storytelling event”… 😅 I’m concerned that if they’re going to try make several series at the same time, most of them simply won’t be good enough, let alone on par with The Mandalorian. That was what plagued MCU as well IMO – too many disparate stories, not enough focus on tight logical storytelling, and it ended up being just totally meh.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. bormgans says:

    I stopped ST:D after 3 episodes. Have you watched Picard as well? I have more hope for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Picard. It is slightly better than Discovery, but since TNG might be my favorite star trek show, its failings hurt me much more. It starts out pretty ok and then falls apart over the course of the season, just like the Discovery seasons. It has the same nonsensical plot developments that make you question where it ends up and why other plots were abandoned from one episode to the next. Most of all, it is the Patrick Steward show and Steward doesn’t much like SF, never liked the character of Picard himself and has no real respect for what TNG used to do. He’s given the freedom now to do whatever. It doesn’t have much to do with the Picard from TNG.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. piotrek says:

    Amen! I still struggle with Discovery, but I don’t have much to defend it with, and Picard ended pathetically… Mandalorian might be great, but it’s a completely different kind of great, we also need a proper Star Trek series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. I just watched the first episode of the 4th season of The Expanse, and that show is also great, but in yet another way. Have you seen that show? I think that a new Star Trek show should take a good look at the Expanse and take some lessons from it. Expanse feels grounded in reality, it doesn’t hit you over the head with social issues but it has a naturally diverse cast that feels like a natural part of the world that it creates. The visuals are amazing and clear and the story and characters are just better written.

      Liked by 1 person

      • piotrek says:

        Yes, Expanse is great, I’ve seen up to S03, as I’d have to get Amazon Prime to see more, and that would be one subscription too much at this point…
        The Orville, a small-budget TV show from Seth MacFarlane that is part parody, and part much truer Star Trek than Discovery… at least that’s how I felt after season 1, I have to check the 2nd one 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Orville is very true to Star Trek. So much so that it frustrates me that it isn’t set in the Star Trek universe. I can’t see it as part of Star Trek canon now! Season 2 was pretty good too with a homage to Best of Both Worlds, but I didn’t watch every episode. You can easily skip some of them if the story doesn’t sound interesting, and not really miss anything.

          Liked by 1 person

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