Star Trek: Discovery aired its debut episode on CBS last night, followed by episode 2 on their All-Access streaming service. According to Variety, the show drew an audience of 9.6 million viewers (1.9 rating with adults 18-49), and set a new single-day subscriber record for the fledgling streaming service — CBS declined to say how many new subscribers were added. Not bad. By comparison, The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1 only drew 5.35 million in 2010 on AMC (but had a higher 2.7 rating with adults 18-49).
Your opinion of this first Star Trek: Discovery episode probably has as much to do with your relationship with past Trek iterations — TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise — as it does with the quality of the episodes you saw last evening. For many fans, the memorable main credits sequences on those previous Trek shows set a tone and standard for the sci-fi journeys that followed, so it was rather shocking to see how dramatically different the Star Trek: Discovery sequence was executed last evening.
The sequence begins with strains of the classic Star Trek music and an interesting exploding diagram of a starship upon a parchment background. Typical Trek openings usually begin in the vastness of space, speaking to those show’s aspirations toward exploration and mystery, which was oddly missing in the new title sequence.
The intro continues its line-drawing style, blending bits of photo-realistic human anatomy — a face, an eye — and sci-fi tech gear — a space suit, a hand phaser, a communicator — while the music continues its subdued, moody beat. There’s also a total absence of dialog; missing from this new title sequence is the classic “Space, the final frontier…” from TOS and TNG (but at least it’s not a pop music theme, like whatever the hell Enterprise was thinking with that Rod Stewart song).
Overall, the Star Trek: Discovery main title does a nice job setting itself apart from every other Trek series, for good or for bad. As someone who grew up with TOS (via reruns) and TNG (via syndication), there’s something a little off about this new take on Trek. While I appreciate the math-y/science-y feel to the animation, I miss the words and the energy of TOS/TNG openings, and the exploration ethos of DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise.
Fan reactions in YouTube to this title sequence are mixed. One fan compares it to Fox’s Fringe (I kind of agree), another called it a high-tech car commercial, while it reminded another fan of his Biology 101 class. Time will tell whether or not this new Trek has the staying power of TNG or suffer the fate of the Star Trek: The Animated Series experiment of 1973-74.
How do you feel about the main title sequence of Star Trek: Discovery? Let us know in the comments down below!
Star Trek: Discovery is now streaming on CBS All-Access service.