It’s once again time to boldly go where no one has gone before – that is, as long as you pay for its special streaming service.
After a long hiatus from the small screen, Star Trek returned last year with brand new adventures in the form of “Star Trek Discovery.” CBS All Access will premier season 2 of Star Trek Discovery on January 17th, 2019. The prospect is “fascinating,” as Spock would say. However, CBS presents Trekkies like me with a conundrum: Subscribe to their CBS All-Access streaming service or miss out.
Check Out Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Trailer
A Trekkie Point Of View on Star Trek Discovery
You must understand, I am no casual fan. I had a Star Trek lunchbox in 6th grade. I had Star Trek quotes plastered all over my high school bedroom. I processed into my wedding to the Star Trek: The Next Generation theme, custom composed for a woodwind trio.
But having already subscribed to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, it rankles me to have to pay monthly for essentially one show (the rest of CBS’ offerings are, to me, a bit blah.) And beyond that, it doesn’t seem like the right thing to charge for something so crucial to our culture.
In fact, to those of us who came of age during the Star Trek Renaissance of the late 80s and 90s, Trek shows were often more than just TV. They were a philosophy, a language, even a religion – complete with rituals and saints. My “Picard/Riker 1996” election t-shirt was only kind of a joke, because after all, they embodied the ideals I truly wanted my leaders to have. My husband was so inspired by Trek’s scientific advances that he now builds space lasers for NASA.
Fortunately, we found a way to get our fix of Discovery with ideals intact, bypassing the All Access fee with a month of free-trial of CBS All Access. The verdict? It’s Trek, but it’s Trek for today.
In the past, Star Trek inspired us to put faith not in superheroes or even in individuals, but rather in the system. Together, we thought, we could make it all work out in the end. These days, however, I’m less naïve than I was, and the world is a great deal scarier. We as a society have to some extent lost our faith in the inherent goodness of our institutions (whether it was ever actually there is a point for debate.)
Hence, we love superhero movies, celebrating the deus ex machina who will somehow save us all. And we have Star Trek Discovery, today’s Trek, for better or for worse.
Part of that means we get today’s phenomenal special effects. You are bound to delight in the super cool ship. A good third of why you watch Discovery is spectacle: the show truly demonstrates why you’d want to go exploring because it’s glorious and magic and awe-inspiring. (I mean, it’s no floating clay heads as time travel in Star Trek 4, but what is?)
Another third of Discovery’s appeal is nostalgia. The nods to past series (which are actually the future here) are fun, the deep dives perhaps less so – for instance, seeing our beloved Rainn Wilson play Harry Mudd is great at first, but then they fundamentally twist the character beyond recognition. Likewise, we all love seeing Klingons, but not if they’re so horrific that we can’t see them evolving into Lieutenant Worf on the bridge of the Enterprise.
That leads to the last third of Discovery’s DNA, which is sheer, unadulterated angst. Our lofty dreams of diplomacy and altruism are too Pollyanna for this iteration, for the most part. There’s treachery, betrayal, corruption, and characters staring sadly into the distance. There’s gore and cannibalism and the F-Bomb. Somehow I don’t think this Trek will end up on many kids’ lunchboxes.
Maybe that’s just where we are right now, and I won’t say I didn’t enjoy all that to some degree. The twists are fun and I love some of the characters. And kudos to them for having a real, fleshed-out gay relationship between two main characters.
But call me a grumpy old fangirl if you must, I still miss the days when Star Trek made me feel like being a better human. I liked it when the crew relaxed with a poetry reading, a play, or a recital, rather than a drunken frat party. I liked feeling like we were all building something together, not just desperately trying to survive the latest crisis.
Regardless of how it makes you feel, you’ll want to see the latest crew for yourself, at least before the new season drops on January 19, 2019.
How to Watch Star Trek Discovery
Discovery isn’t on regular network television, as was every Star Trek series in the past. Discovery isn’t even on Hulu or Netflix. Instead, it is streaming only on the CBS All Access service, which costs $5.99/month with ads and $9.99/month without ads. The app is available on all major platforms including Roku and Apple TV.
If you (like me) can’t stand the idea of paying a monthly fee for essentially one show, you can get away with binging Discovery during the free trial period. It’s easy to get a one week trial for free but deals for a free month do happen sometimes. Watch out for special deals or coupon codes. You can even get a free trial without ads.
Other Ways to Watch Star Trek Discovery
Resistance may seem futile, but you can get away with watching Discovery without assimilation into the CBS All Access collective. Buy the episodes or the season and then you can watch Discovery whenever you want. This may be a good option for those who already used up their free trial on season one but who still will want to watch season two without All Access.
Season two might not be on sale right away, but if you are willing to wait, you should be able to buy all the episodes. Currently season one is available for sale on a few different sites. It costs $2.99 per episode or $34.99 for season 1 in HD. You can get it for the same price on Itunes. On YouTube or Google Play you can get the SD version of the episodes for $1.99 each for SD (or $2.99 for HD.) Vudu offers season 1 SD for $27.99 or HD for $34.99.
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