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All The Good Things Discovery Gave Star Trek

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All The Good Things Discovery Gave Star Trek

 

Star Trek: Discovery season 5 will be the show’s last, and it will bow out in 2024 having contributed so many good things to the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek: Discovery season 5 promises to launch Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the crew of the USS Discovery on a quest to find “the greatest treasure in the known galaxy.” Discovery‘s climactic voyages are bound to continue to positively add to Star Trek’s canon.


Discovery is the only Star Trek series to completely shift its setting in the Prime timeline. Originally a prequel set in the 23rd century, Discovery reset itself 930 years in the future in season 3. Discovery is also the first serialized Star Trek series made in the streaming era of prestige television. Controversial since its inception, Discovery nonetheless re-ignited the dormant Star Trek franchise, launching an entire universe of new series on Paramount+. When Discovery ultimately warps into the final frontier, it will leave Star Trek better than it found it. Its legacy will be one of progressive values and positive changes to Star Trek, as well as the following good things.

Related: 7 Unanswered Questions About Star Trek: Discovery

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20 The USS Discovery’s Spore Drive

Star Trek's USS Discovery using its spore drive

Perhaps Star Trek: Discovery‘s greatest innovation is the displacement-activated spore hub drive, which allows for instantaneous travel along the mycelial network. A technological leap forward from standard warp travel, the spore drive was anachronistic in the 23rd century, but it is aspirational technology nonetheless, with the 32nd century United Federation of Planets attempting to duplicate it. Discovery issuing a Black Alert and jumping via the spore drive gave Star Trek a brand-new way to fly.

19 Species 10-C

Star trek discovery season 5 burnham species 10c

The USS Discovery journeyed to a new galaxy in season 4 to meet Species 10-C, the creators of the Dark Matter Anomaly. Breaking away from Star Trek’s trope of humanoids with bumpy foreheads, Discovery‘s 10-C was truly alien and communicated via an emotion-based language Burnham and Discovery’s crew had to learn. Species 10-C was a blend of hard science and pure imagination that showed Discovery is still pushing Star Trek’s boundaries.

18 Chancellor L’Rell & Voq/Ash Tyler

Voq Ash Tyler L'Rell

Star Trek: Discovery‘s reimagining of the Klingons was unpopular, but two breakthrough characters emerged: L’Rell (Mary Chieffo), who rose to become the first female Klingon Chancellor, and her lover Voq (Shazad Latif), the albino Klingon who was surgically transformed into the human Ash Tyler. They also had a son, Tenavik (Kenneth Mitchell), who was the gateway to Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) learning his dark future. L’Rell and Voq/Ash Tyler emerged as the most important Klingons in Star Trek since Worf (Michael Dorn), Gowron (Robert O’Reilly), and General Martok (J.G. Hertzler).

17 Star Trek’s 32nd Century

Discovery Starfleet 32nd Century

Discovery‘s one-way trip to the 32nd century gave Star Trek its farthest known canonical future. The 32nd century saw the Federation broken by The Burn but restored by Burnham and the USS Discovery. Filled with new technology like programmable matter, new starships, and new aliens, Discovery‘s 32nd century also allowed the series to homage legacy characters via the USS Janeway, the USS Voyager-J, the USS Nog, and the Archer Space Dock. Discovery‘s 32nd century also boasts the mysterious and compelling Dr. Kovich (David Cronenberg) and the noble Lt. Aditya Sahil (Adil Hussain). Star Trek: Discovery‘s 32nd century is a boundless future of renewed optimism that season 5 will hopefully explore more fully.

Related: 6 Star Trek Characters Who Should Still Appear In Discovery

16 Kelpiens

Star Trek: Discovery‘s first new species introduced remains one of its most visually distinctive and compelling. The Kelpiens, which count Captain Saru (Doug Jones) among them, were a species ruled by fear of a dominant race, the Ba’ul. In Discovery season 2, Saru evolved and helped his people do the same so that the Kelpiens overthrew the Ba’ul and embraced a destiny in the stars. By the 32nd century, the Kelpiens and Ba’ul share their homeworld of Kaminar, while another Kelpien (Bill Irwin) was discovered to be the unwitting cause of The Burn.

15 Vulcans & Romulans Unified

Vulcans in Star Trek Discovery

The unification of the Vulcan and Romulan people was a cause Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) fought for in his twilight years in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Star Trek: Discovery completed Spock’s mission. In the 32nd century, the Vulcans and Romulans live together and share the Vulcan homeworld, renamed Ni’Var. Star Trek: Picard‘s Romulan warrior nuns, the Qowat Milat, also reside on Ni’Var. The unified Vulcans and Romulans are reminder of the progress possible in Star Trek’s universe.

14 Zora

Zora meeting in Star Trek Discovery

Introduced in the Short Trek “Calypso,” Zora (Annabelle Wallis) is the USS Discovery’s computer that evolved into sentient artificial intelligence. Zora gave Star Trek: Discovery a new window into a machine searching for what it means to understand and be human, furthering what Star Trek: The Next Generation began with Data (Brent Spiner). Zora’s affection and devotion for the USS Discovery’s crew is a new perspective on A.I. as the first time a starship itself is protective of the Starfleet Officers within it.

13 Star Trek’s Multiverse

Kovich Collage Star Trek Discovery 2

Since the introduction of the Mirror Universe in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek has always been a Multiverse. But Star Trek: Discovery truly leaned into the idea, revealing that the 32nd century Federation is fully aware of divergent timelines and alternate realities like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie Kelvin timeline. Discovery season 4’s Dr. Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) risked destroying the galaxy to return to his own universe. Discovery season 3 also brought back the Guardian of Forever (Paul Guilfoyle) from TOS as a literal gateway into both time and alternate realities.

Related: Discovery Has Double The Ranks Of Other Star Trek Shows

12 President Rillak & Admiral Vance

Discovery Admiral Vance President Rillak

Star Trek has no shortage of evil Starfleet Admirals and ineffectual Federation Presidents, but Star Trek: Discovery has a great one of each. Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) is no ‘badmiral,’ but a fair-minded and compassionate leader who held the broken Federation together and gave the USS Discovery its shot at saving the galaxy. President Laira Rillak (Chelah Horsdal), a hybrid human/Cardassian/Bajoran, is a seasoned politician who doesn’t lack patience and wisdom. While neither began as fans of Michael Burnham, they all work together to build a better Federation.

11 United Earth President Stacey Abrams

Star Trek: Discovery season 4 ended with the surprise reveal of the United Earth President, who was played by Stacey Abrams. The Georgia politician served in the House of Representatives and ran for Governor. A lifelong Star Trek fan, Abrams’ cameo was a jaw-dropper as she stood shoulder to shoulder with Captain Burnham, which opened the door for the isolated Earth to take its rightful place in the Federation once more.

10 Captain Gabriel Lorca

Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca on Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek has never had a Captain quite like Discovery season 1’s Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs). The stern and calculating Lorca was the first Captain of the USS Discovery who was revealed to be an imposter from the Mirror Universe. Arguably Discovery‘s greatest villain, Lorca tested the values and beliefs of Burnham and Discovery’s crew in his quest to conquer the Terran Empire. It’s a testament to Isaacs’ insidious performance that fans still clamor for Lorca to somehow return to Star Trek: Discovery.

9 Captain Saru & President T’Rina’s Romance

Saru T'Rina Discovery Season 4

In Star Trek: Discovery, romantic chemistry has no boundaries, not even between a Kelpien and a Vulcan. From the first scenes Captain Saru and Ni’Var President T’Rina (Tara Rosling) shared, there were sparks between them. Discovery laudably went full-speed ahead to explore the attraction between Saru and T’Rina, culminating in season 4’s sweetly chaste hand-holding. Discovery season 5 promises to explore T’Rina and Saru’s love story, and perhaps they will go where no Star Trek romance has gone before.

Related: Discovery Was Star Trek: Lower Decks Before The Animated Comedy

8 Star Trek’s Mirror Universe

Mirror Michael Burnham

Other Star Trek series have depicted the Mirror Universe, but never with the startling verve and eye-popping style of Star Trek: Discovery. The alternate reality ruled by the Terran Empire was vividly re-imagined by Discovery as a terrifying nightmare realm void of love and compassion. Discovery went all-in on the Mirror Universe, which was brought to life in the best multi-part episodes of season 1 and season 3. Discovery‘s vaulting ambition is showcased by the Mirror Universe, which is the gold standard of Star Trek TV show alternate realities.

7 Lt. Sylvia Tilly (& Captain Killy)

Mary Wiseman as Tilly in Star Trek Discovery

Lt. (formerly Cadet) Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) was the most endearing character Star Trek: Discovery season 1 introduced. Bright, spunky, and awkward, but courageous, Tilly was the audience’s surrogate whose irrepressible brains and wit led her to rise up the ranks and serve as Captain Saru’s First Officer. Tilly left Discovery to instruct at Starfleet Academy in season 4, but she will hopefully return to the starship in season 5. Not to be outdone, Sylvia’s fearsome Mirror Universe counterpart, Captain “Killy,” is one of Star Trek’s most ingenious doppelgängers.

6 Dr. Hugh Culber & Commander Paul Stamets’ Love Story

Star Trek: Discovery proudly broke boundaries with its LGBTQ+ representation and the love story of Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) and Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is the inspiring heart of it all. Star Trek’s first gay couple portrayed in a loving relationship, Hugh and Paul have overcome numerous challenges (like Culber’s death and resurrection), but remain faithful and devoted to each other. Discovery simply cannot operate without the tempestuous Stamets, who is crucial to Engineering and piloting the spore drive, and the compassionate Culber, who serves double duty as Chief Medical Officer and ship’s counselor.

5 Gray & Adira Tal

Gray and Adira

Star Trek: Discovery‘s dedication to diversity and LGBTQ+ representation is further embodied by Adira Tal (Blu del Barrio) and Gray Tal (Ian Alexander), Star Trek’s first non-binary and transgender characters. Adira and Tal, who are lovers, were essentially adopted by Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber, forming a beautiful progressive family aboard the USS Discovery. Gray, a bright and intuitive Trill, and Adira, an engineering prodigy, are also fantastic characters. Together, they opened the door for even more diversity in Star Trek, such as Jesse James Keitel as Captain Angel in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Related: Every Family Member Of Discovery’s Michael Burnham In Star Trek

4 Cleveland Booker & Michael Burnham’s Romance (& Grudge)

Burnham Book Romance Discovery

The central love story in Star Trek: Discovery belongs to Captain Michael Burnham and Cleveland Booker (David Ajala). In Book, Burnham has a compassionate partner who shares her penchant for action and risk, and they are the most prominent Black couple since Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) and Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson) in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Book may also be devoted to his queen, Grudge the cat, but he and Michael are the heartbeat of Star Trek: Discovery.

3 Emperor Phillipa (& Captain) Georgiou

Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou in Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery scored big time by casting an internationally famed actor the caliber of Michelle Yeoh, who was given two of the greatest characters of the series: Captain Phillipa Georgiou and her Mirror Universe counterpart, the Emperor of the Terran Empire. Fiercely intelligent, provocative, and deadly, Emperor Georgiou was as cunning as Captain Georgiou was patient and noble. Both were ideal mentors and foils for Michael Burnham, and they are dearly missed after Emperor Georgiou departed Discovery in season 3.

2 Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

strange-new-worlds-spock-number-one-future-hint

Star Trek: Discovery changed the course of Star Trek for the better by re-introducing Captain Christopher Pike, Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck), and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) to canon. Anson Mount’s Pike quickly captured the admiration of audiences, while Peck’s Spock and Romijn’s Number One breathed new life into two of Star Trek’s oldest characters. The Starship Enterprise’s iconic trio proved so popular, they received their own wildly successful spinoff, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is one of the greatest gifts Discovery has given Star Trek.

1 Captain Michael Burnham

Sonequa Martin Green as Michael Burnham in Star Trek Discovery from Two Angles

Michael Burnham is a landmark character performed with grace and power by Sonequa Martin-Green. Star Trek: Discovery is synonymous with Michael Burnham, the first Black female lead of a Star Trek series who rose to become the first Black female Captain of her own series. Discovery allowed Burnham to be flawed and make terrible mistakes, but she is also a compassionate and indomitable genius driven to do what’s right. Controversial but unstoppable, Burnham is the embodiment of Star Trek: Discovery‘s flaws and virtues, especially the show’s core belief that all is possible when we embrace the best in ourselves and each other.

More: Why Discovery Is Ending With Season 5 & What It Means For Star Trek

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 premieres in 2024 on Paramount+.

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