‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Designers Reveal Look and Colors Will Evolve To Be More Like TOS

Members of the art department for Star Trek: Discovery held a panel on Saturday at FanExpo Canada, where they talked about the production design for the show, with a primary focus on the interiors of the different ships. The panel was really less of a typical talking event and more of a show & tell slide show, but unfortunately they did not allow any photography so we can’t share anything that was shown. But they did say after the show premieres they expect much of what they displayed to become available online.

Discovery production design panel at Fan Expo Canada 2017

Production Designer Todd Cherniawsky (who Skyped in from Los Angeles) kicked things off by talking about how everyone working on the look of the show took it very seriously, and took fan comments and critiques seriously as well:

For all of us who have had a chance to work on the show, this is very, very precious material to us. This has all informed our childhoods. We have all been fans. So every decision that has been made along the way has been really, really carefully thought out. We also appreciate the criticism and concerns for the franchise.

Next up was Supervising Art Director Mark Steel, who talked about the scale of work being done for Discovery. He reported that the show employs 7 art directors, 9 illustrators, 35 set designers, and over 450 painters, carpenters, sculptors, model makers, set dressers, and prop builders. All of these people are spaced out across Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Los Angeles. He said that the show is being shot on 6 stages in Toronto, and showed an overlay comparing the original 1966 Desilu stages to the current Discovery sets. TOS sets were dwarfed in comparison.

Shot from production start promo shows scale of some of the Discovery sets

Discovery graphics will get more colorful – like TOS

Things got even more interesting towards the end, when Timothy Peel (the Lead Motion Graphic Designer) started showing off some of his work. It was very impressive to see the level of detail that goes into all the displays around the ships and how many of them are genuinely interactive.

Peel talked about how they have striven to make the look of the interfaces on the show fit into a continuum from Enterprise to The Original Series to The Next Generation. In fact, he considers TNG designer Mike Okuda his “god” and noted, “I try to honor the look and feel, but the tech is better,” referring to the tools available today.

Peel then said something almost as an aside that seemed pretty significant. While showing off one of the interfaces from the U.S.S. Shenzhou he commented on the color scheme:

This is slightly blue-y. They are sort of restricting all the color schemes and they will slowly advance and become more colorful as we get closer to The Original Series, and for other reasons I can’t repeat.

The blue that dominates the Federation interface designs on Discovery will apparently evolve to something more TOS-like and colorful

Sarcophagus ship is huge, detailed, uses Trek novel for inspiration

Perhaps half of the presentation panel was dedicated to Art Director Matt Middleton talking about the work done to create the Klingon Sarcophagus ship, which he described as a “cathedral in space.” Middleton said that Bryan Fuller’s original outline called for the set to function as “a church, a ritual space and a functioning bridge.”

Production design sketch for Sarcophagus Ship shown at SDCC

Middleton said the ship was “exercise for us for how can we make this more intricate and more elaborate and more worthy of the Star Trek universe.” The goal for the ship design was described as:

A high level of sophisticated detail for a race that has long been perceived as brutal, one-minded and simplistic, in order to breathe new life for the Klingon race and raise them to the noble status and worthy adversarial position that this new iteration of the series will demand.

Multi-level Sarcophugus ship

The ship contains multiple levels, mezzanines and “focal points for dramatic staging of our Klingon leaders orating to their followers and creating dramatic places where power plays and shifts of power can occur.” In addition the different levels allow for “swashbuckling action.”

For inspiration the crew drew from Byzantine, Medieval, Gothic and Islamic influences. And one of the Star Trek sources that Bryan Fuller directed the designers to pull from was the 1984 Star Trek novel The Final Reflection by John Ford. This book was helpful as a “launching off point thematically” for the Klingons and for specific details, such as a creating a version of the game “klin zha” which is played to teach military strategy.

The novel delves into the Klingon culture, and Star Trek: The Next Generation writer Ron Moore, who wrote many of the Klingon episodes, has said he also drew inspiration from it. Apparently it is required reading for those dealing with Klingons and Discovery; in TrekMovie’s interview with Kenneth Mitchell (Kol) he said he found the book to be “a great launching pad for understanding the depth and complexity of the Klingons.”

This 1984 book inspired designs for Discovery

According to Graphic Designer Andy Tsang, the team even researched how written languages evolve so they could make the Klingon language written into to the set of the Sarcophagus ship look “ancient.”  They also highlighted a particular plinth from the ship and gave a translation of the script:

I will go now to Sto-vo-kor, but I promise one day I will return. Then Kahless points to a star in the sky and said, “Look for me there at that point of light.”

T’Kuvma stands atop plinth with quote from Kahless

Discovery and Shenzhou sets are interchangeable

Another highlight of the panel came from Lead Set Designer Matthew Morgan who showed off many of his designs, focusing on the U.S.S. Shenzhou and the U.S.S. Discovery. He also explained how one of the challenges of designing was that the sets needed to work for both ships:

As there are two main ships for this series, one of the things is how can we use these sets for two ships. By switching different elements, graphics, paints… The challenge of switching sets over is trying to design things in a way so we can re-purpose so we can go back and forth.

He then showed examples of how this was done with corridors, turbolifts, and the transporter room.

Believe it or not, both of these are the same set underneath

Other bits

Here are a few other random bits of stuff picked up during the panel.

  • Veteran Star Trek designers John Eaves and Scott Schneider designed the Federation ships for Discovery.
  • The U.S.S. Discovery sickbay uses inspirations from U.S.S. Enterprise sickbay in TOS.
  • One of the influences for the design of the U.S.S. Shenzhou sets was 1960s James Bond films.
  • Both the U.S.S. Discovery and the U.S.S. Shenzhou have captain’s “ready rooms.”
  • They have endeavored to ensure that the sets actually fit the exterior designs of the ship but admit “there is some cheating.”
  • They have made a 3-D chess set
  • The Klingon Sarcophogus ship doesn’t really have practical touch displays like Federation ships but uses holographic displays done in post-production VFX.
  • The set build for Shenzhou was a challenge because it is on the bottom of the saucer so it had to be built off the ground and “upside down.”

Shenzhou bridge set built ‘upside down’

Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US.  In Canada Star Trek: Discovery will premiere  on Bell Media’s CTV and the Space Channel on the same night. Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25 to countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.


When not acting as our Toronto con reporter Angie Korporaal is a graphic designer and amateur prop builder. You can follow her as @korps on Twitter and Instagram.

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I can see finally introducing a Constituition class vessel maybe next season featuring more of THE CAGE look to the unforms in much the same way DS9 crossed over with TNG, and VOY with DS9 and the TNG movies … I really hope they don’t shift into a lot of red too quickly though. The Cage had a sublime color palette, they should strive to maintain that so that this series remains distinct unto itself … I wonder what reason necessitates the changes though?

Oh maybe because 80% of the Star Trek fans that have supported the franchise for 50 years have all showed dissatisfaction with how much they have dumped on canon? Any new fans and the JJ kids wont stick around for more than a couple of years (due to short attention spans) and are not franchise supporters.

80% lol

I know, its more like 95%.
Actual Star Trek Fans. Not general just Sci-Fi fans with no understanding of Star trek.

LOL! The news of this show’s development has been extremely well received so far. Eighty percent–HAHAHAHA! Some fans have no idea what is going on in fandom.

Not to mention, some of us, myself included, don’t give a tinker’s fart about all the moaning re: canon

If it’s well done, well ret-conned, and well acted, I couldn’t care less.

We have new insights into our own past all the time.

If you couldn’t give a “tinkers fart” about Star trek, Philosophy/ideology/Cannon then you surely are not a Star trek fan are you?
The actual Star Trek fans are not Happy- getting a General Sci-Fi series, no matter how well produced will not satisfy Star trek fans.

Exactly why pandering to trekkies that need a heroin fix – such that literally anything with the trek label slapped on it will do – has been killing the franchise since DS9. Some people would clearly defend anything production wise – so it is impossible to believe that a show that was actually consistent with previous canon would cause an outrage with the folks that defend anything.

80%? How did you come by that number?

I’ve been watching Star Trek for 50 years since its original run and I like what I’ve seen. I guess the other 4 geezers don’t.

Geezers is the word. ;)

These guys are an embarrassment to the franchise and sadly show they are waaaaay too stuck in their ways. Most of us just love Trek, love all the changes that Trek has endured for 50 years now and glad its still just being made even if we don’t love it all.

I don’t pretend I’m on board with everything dealing with Discovery but so far most. I don’t expect to love it like I do DS9 and TNG but I don’t expect to hate it either since I haven’t hated any Trek. Even if I don’t love in the beginning, I’m going to give it a wide berth. Enterprise was the only show I didn’t do that with and gave up on it early. And yes, I now regret that as a lot of others did.

This geezer’s reaction so far is mixed, but I’m happy to be getting new Trek produced by people who seem to care about the franchise and the fans. We’ll see.



I even like the JJ movies. [Collective gasp from the four geezers!]

they just dont want to be alone….

80%?!? More like a loud 5%. If you read the comments, it’s the same few people constantly complaining. The rest of us fans are really looking forward to Discovery.

And some of us look forward to Star Trek 4 as well.

I just hope to heck they don’t end the Kelvin Timeline. What would we do without Jaylah? :^)

Well, there is always the option of rewatching Beyond and I understand that she is part of the comics now,too.

Maybe 80 guys total.
But definitely not 80 percent

He’s talking about real actual Star Trek fans, the ones that love Star Trek for its specific unique qualities & actually supported it with $$$ over the years not just general sci-Fi fans who will like any sci-Fi show that is well produced.

Im a trek fan. I have seen pretty much every episode and movie of every series. Maybe a cpl tos episode eluded me but i know the history. The fans that hate it are not stuck in the past. Its never been about that. Its about the fact they built up a history of canon then they do something that dumps on it. Why create a series for a fanbase that isnt going to adheare to its own history? If u want to do something different than Trek then do another scifi series.Dont screw with the canon just because. Like why do the klingons look like that?

Yeah, since kids these days and their “short attention spans” haven’t shown any interest in serialized, complicated storytelling that takes years to tell, like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, etc. Jeez.

Point well made, sir! I salute you.

I really quite laughable how some fans feel superior to other people just because they like a TV show from the 60s or a TV show from the 80s.

Sad and ridiculous. I like how they seem to think they are in some special club that they can watch an outdated show from decades ago and act superior over it. We all seen the same show(s). No one gets a special prize because they can brag they saw it when it first aired. Here’s a cookie, no one cares.

I’m more interested in seeing where Trek is going, not where its been, hence why prequels and nostalgia is far from my thing. Dont get me wrong, I like seeing stuff from the past and nods here and there. But I don’t need to be reminded of it over and over again like a guy who can’t stop talking about high school in his 30s. Time to move on.


Re: “some special club”

Let me get this straight; you don’t understand why people who made actual history while watching a history making show in the midst of real history feel above your obsession with treating its stories’ fictional invented history to come as if it is more important and its fictional prior eras that were never written about have already transpired?

God Disinvited I can put you on ignore. You’re not in a special club because you were old enough to watch a TV show, believe it or not. Everyone here are all fans. Sure, the people who did, thats great, but it doesn’t make you special or superior for doing it. These are the people we are talking about.


Re: Tiger2

LOL, again you miss my whole point. We didn’t “just watch a show.” Most of us participated. Which is why it’s ridiculous, when you “just watched another show” fans keep trying to equate your watching to what we experienced which directly contributed to the franchise being here so you could “just watch it.”

And it’s sad that you don’t understand the greater import some feel over being a part of real history over “just watching” some show with Trek in its title. Not to mention this elitist watchers club nonsense that you concocted because you simply do not want to try to understand.

You are clueless & disrespectful

They don’t think they are superior because they are old & watched it in the 60’s that’s ageist & ridiculous.
They may feel akin with a community of people who see & appreciate the same unique qualities in a work of art that others don’t see or don’t value & don’t notice as they dissapear to be replaced by war & an unrealistic gritty realistic style.
This is just the truth.

Trekboi, you will be whining about a show no one is forcing you to watch for years. Typical ‘fan’. That is just the truth.

And a ‘community’ of stubborn useless fans who claim to not like any of it for decades but yet still watch because I guess that shows how exciting their life is. No one cares if you hate all or most of Trek, why are you wasting our time wasting your time watching something you claim only wastes your time?

Will never get people like this.

So those shows were only watched by kids? So audiences over the age of 30 don’t matter? don’t support things?

LOL you missed my point. It has nothing to do with age, its the people who constantly discuss the ‘glory days’ as if A. It was nothing but glory and B. They can’t move on with their life.

I never said or implied anyone over 30 doesn’t matter, especially since I’m over 30.

The Enterprise is supposedly out there in the same time period; setting up the potentially ultimate show down between a D-7 battlecruiser and a Constitution class cruiser.

The sets on this show have to be the most impressive element by far. I hope they allow for a cinematic feel to this series with wide shots like in GOT or Breaking Bad, and that we really feel like we’re on a ship in deep space. I think ENT made subtle changes in These Are the Voyages to their screen readout colors to be more like in TOS…if they’re back to blue in DSC, does that constitute a continuity error?

If I remember correctly, season 4 of ENT added more colorful and blinkier lights, even before TATV. I think it’s a stretch to call this a continuity error with DSC, though. TOS movies became less colorful than the preceding series.

alba, Why would it constitute a continuity error? Ship designs change. I could see the Starfleet ship designers and engineers changing the button color scheme from blue to a rainbow variety because there might be fewer errors with different colors during a frantic battle, or communications crisis, or hurried scientific analysis.

@Marja — and another reason why they’d want a less bright bridge, so that lighted buttons showed up clearly from unlit ones, especially now that they’re colored with different wavelengths to register.

This nonsense is why no one can write a decent story anymore. They write ONE story, and pad it out for 13 episodes. Mostly, I think they have no idea where the story is ultimately even going. Anyway – sets have ZERO to do with the quality of a show. You could do a Rod Serling script or “12 Angry Men” and do them as PUPPET SHOWS and they’d still be good. Producers need to find short story writers, pay them a fortune, do episodic TV again, and cut the costs of sets, promotions, star salaries, effects, etc.

Fuller and Kurtzman mapped out the entire season before they even wrote the pilot. How could they not know where its going? And its not like DS9, its only a one season storyline like Enterprise and the Xindi. If they get a season 2 it will be something new.

it’s just bad design & disrespect to what has been established.

What is the point of it evolving to look more like TOS after they decided to retcon how Klingons look? I mean, I don’t mind thd retcon; it’s fine. I just dont see the logic of trying to link colors to TOS but simultaneously ignore a drastic change in appearance of a major species.

I’m guessing because making the Klingons more varied and complex was important for the story they’re telling. Makes good sense to me, I enjoy a well told story. The color of displays seems a minor thing, but I like that they’ve thought about it.

I hear what you’re saying, but it is still a strange contradiction. We know we are completely changing how a MAJOR species looks…but we’re going to use some colors from TOS! Like I said, I don’t actually mind the new klingins; they actually look cool. But if you want to go that way, don’t pretend you are trying to tie the show to the existing shows you are intentionally breaking from. Basicaly…make up your mind, and just go with it.

@JaxParroh — I take it to mean they are going with the red, blue, gold division colors. It’s apple’s and oranges as far as the Klingons are concerned, and not a contradiction at all.

No, the didn’t “completely change” how the Klingons look. These Klingons look closer to their TNG era counterparts than the TNG ones looked like their Classic Trek counterparts. The only real difference on these new Klingons is the nose, and outfits. The rest are just small tweaks.

How DO the Klingons look, then? Are they swarthy humans? Are they humans with bifurcated brows? Do they all have uniform lobster heads? Do they all have completely different heads? Answer: all of the above. The Klingons’ look has changed MANY times over the years. From TOS to TMP, it changed. From TMP to TSFS, it changed. From TSFS to TNG, it changed. From TNG to TUC, it changed. And even in TOS, it changed from one appearance to the next. This is just the latest change. The only species that has changed more often than the Klingons is the Andorians–and Trek survived those changes just fine.

“How DO the Klingons look, then?”

Since the show makers are drawing comparisons between the lights/colors and TOS(for the reason that this show’s time period is close to TOS), then using that logic the TOS klingon appearance would be the frame of reference for comparison.

I like the look of the new Klingons. I also have no problem admitting it looks absolutely nothing like TOS, so I agree it’s silly they are trying to compare colors to TOS when they are intentionally making such a huge departure with the Klingons.

Are you now seriously comparing clothing colors to the appearance of an alien species that spans thousands of planets and is millennia old? Trek has this dumb idea that all members of an alien species should look alike. But what if you are a Klingon that comes from a high radiation, high gravity planetary system? Do you honestly think they will look the same after thousands of years as a Klingon from a low gravity, low radiation system? Do all humans look alike?

@Bert — the clothing colors are iconic and have been part of canon for over 50 years. The Klingons have changed appearance dramatically three times since, not counting the incredible inconsistencies between the introduced changes in TMP through the last episode of ENT, including Worf who played the same character for almost two decades.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the colors nor do I care about ‘glorious canon’. What I do care about is that this series seems to present a broader picture of an alien civilization spanning thousands of worlds than the ‘we all look like this or that’ picture that Trek is well known for. The changes in the Klingons up to now have simply been a) more money and b) better prosthetics, that’s all. Even on DS9 the Klingons were essentially all the same, like a clone army. While a certain cultural set of principles may be indoctrinated into a species, it is ludicrous to think that all Klingons would be the same. Look around you, go to five different countries and you will understand what I mean.

Exactly, Burt! Agreed!

Sorry, *Bert*.

AWESOME! Can’t wait to watch it here in Mexico on Netflix… just 22 days!

I don’t care what they do with uniforms, as those have always changed with each new iteration (except lazy Voyager), but I would love to see the very best possible rendering of a classic Connie. I love clean lines! I always thought they had the ability to sheath the ship in a solid outer hull, making openings in it at the molecular level for hatches and such. Aztecing bores me at this point and SW dirty space looks like dangerously poor maintenance when you’re taking about a vessel that keeps you alive.

Keeping the Voyager uniforms the same throughout the series was intentional. Since they are stuck in the Delta Quadrant, they obviously don’t have the newest uniforms. You’ll notice that in the Barclay episodes in season 6/7, Reg is wearing the proper uniform for the time period.

I hated the jumpsuit, period. It looked awful on early DS9, super awful in Generations, and dull in Voyager. Dickies in space… ugh.

Not to mention the many-layered uniforms TNG characters began sporting later in the series and movies.

Must’ve kept the makeup department busy, blotting and powdering sweaty faces. I hope they had some mighty powerful A/C on the set!

I loved the jump suits but we all have our own opinions. And to be honest one of the things I don’t love about Discovery are the uniforms. I don’t know if those are something I would want to wear (if I was in Starfleet I mean). But I guess I will get use to it in time.

@borg — yes but they had a replicator. They could have changed all of their uniforms easily in order to keep up morale and keep up with Starfleet regulations, which we all know Janeway held in such esteem, because she told us almost every episode.

Ummm… remember “restrictions on replicators” “There’s coffee in that nebula”?

@TrekkerChick — yup, that was another problem. One day they were rationing replicators for some reason, the next they were enjoying a holo-novel. At some point didn’t they just give up on the whole idea of rationing the replicators as part of a narrative?

I don’t think they were really worried about the latest uniform trends back in Starfleet.

I was a both the production and actor panel at FanExpo yesterday. The production panel was amazing, so much unrelated info and images were revealed. The actor panel was great in the sense that it was great to see them in the flesh and they were sincere and amusing as always. But they said more or less the same things they always do at panels. The one bit of info that I have not heard before was from from Kenneth Mitchell who portrays Kol. At the panel Kenneth Mitchell said that Kol is the leader of the house of Kor. Now it could have been a slip but I have a feeling that being only three weeks away, they are just dropping more nuggets of info. I did record the audio from that panel. What he said exactly is “Kol, he is the house leader of the House of Kor. He’s a great warrior, he is a bit of an alpha Klingon amongst the Klingon leaders.”

That was supposed to read “The production panel was amazing, so much UNRELEASED info and images were revealed.” Really need comment editing trekmovie!

I think it was known before that Kol was the leader of the House of Kor. Somebody reported that Shazad Latif told the crowd that his character is in a prison cell when he first meets Lorca and Mudd. Is Mudd in the pilot or is Lt. Tyler only introduced in a later episode?


That was me. As I said in my original comment he didn’t elaborate.

But we do know the following; Mud will appear in only two episodes and the producers said at SDCC that the scenes in trailers were from the first 3 episodes.

My guess is that the scene where Lt. Tyler meets Lorca and Mudd in the prison cell will be in the 2nd or 3rd episode.

Right on. It must have been way back because a google search never brought it up. Mostly that Kol is part of/a warrior of the House of Kor.

“Captain, I don’t understand. All our graphic overlays are suddenly failing… the computer is making some kind of clunky noise like an old-style teletype… and ship’s laundry reports the pants of all women’s uniforms have changed to velour briefs!”

Fashion comes and goes and comes again. It’s not inconceivable we’ll make the same design mistakes of the ’60s again! Or any decade or decades for that matter. But I have always thought the fashions on Star Trek changed rather often and dramatically from one movie or TV iteration to the next.

Designers not wanting to use other designers designs wanting to make their own to get credit & attention instead of doing what is best for the look of the series or consistency of the Star Trek universe

Not Invented Here existed in Hollywood loooooong before Star Trek came along.


Re: noise like an old-style teletype

Actually, I know this one because I found one in an old punchcard sorting area in the DATA PROCESSING DEPARTMENT at my college and I successfully petitioned the college to offer a course on how to program it:

It’s the sound of a plugwire programmable IBM 402 ACCOUNTING MACHINE.



“Uniform complaints from women crewmembers have quadrupled in the last day, Captain, especially from women in Engineering.”

“…and for other reasons I can’t repeat.” Let the theorizing begin! ☺

Q arrives.

Being at the Toronto FanExpo Star Trek Discovery production panel there are a few other nuggets of info I will drop.

Although they did flip through most images fairly quickly….

The horseshoe shaped USS Shenzhou transporter platform has about 8 or 9 individual transporter pads, far more than the typical 6 pad transporter found on most Starfleet ships.

The plaque on the USS Shenzhou reads “All existing things are really one.” I did not catch were it was built.

Along with the traditional yellow alert, red alert and blue alert Art Director and Lead Set Designer Matt Middleton mentioned black alert. Also before he said red alert he did say orange alert but corrected himself to red alert so I do not know if orange alert was just an honest slip of the tongue but he did say black alert.

There was a ventral shot of the USS Discovery showing a basic vector graphic image of the Discovery’s engineering area. Unless this has been changed it showed a port engineering room and a starboard engineering area as well as…..a vertical warp core.

The graphics images on the screens look amazing. Granted they look VERY similar to the Kelvin universe but they look fantastic. And none are done in post. Every screen has animated graphics in real time. Also the touch screens for the helm were impressive when showing how the pilot would move the ship to impulse or warp. There were also animated diagnostic images of the ship. On the USS Discovery there are also some transparent displays that have up to twenty lawyers of graphics.

A Klingon bloodwine mug had the saying “May your blood scream.”

>Unless this has been changed it showed a port engineering room and a starboard engineering area as well as…..a vertical warp core.

Don’t you mean horizontal?

No I meant vertical, up and down. Granted we never saw a vertical warp core in TOS but in cross-section diagrams of the ship there is a vertical warp core below and to the rear of the main engineering room, right under those angled/vertical tubes we always saw in TOS engineering. But on USS Discovery there were port and starboard engineering room which I assume would be more akin to the TOS style engineering rooms. And then in front of those closer to the front of the ship and possibly a deck above was a vertical warp core with smaller tubes coming out the side horizontally. And as I said in my comment there were no set photos or photos of design sketches, this was digital image using vector based graphics.

Ugh no image posting. These are the cross sections I was referring to.

comment image/revision/latest?cb=20110412104334&path-prefix=en

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The Chadwick,

Cross your fingers:

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Let’s see what it makes of this:

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“Art Director and Lead Set Designer Matt Middleton”

Great name for someone with that title!

Nice, a TNG Reference!

The John Ford connection makes me wish so hard somebody had just shot THE FINAL REFLECTION. Still among my top 3 trek novels, usually top one.

How come you people are not angry that you have to pay for this on CBS All Access. It should be free just like on the other networks.

Why be angry? Its the first new Star Trek show in over a decade. I’m too excited to be angry.

Exploitation excites you?
The series was just made to Sell AA & keep Paramount/Bad Robots license going.
Not for any artistic reasons or for the fans.

@Barbara — hahaha! you think TV is free! Which networks were you thinking about? SciFi? AMC? HBO? Showtime? Do tell …

CBS, ABC,NBC,CW, and FOX are some….

They are not ‘free’. You pay for them because they wil slip commercials into your viewing experience every 5 minutes. Perhaps you’re used to it, this fragmented watching. I am not. If I want to view a show I don’t want to see commercials, if that means I pay for ‘no commercials’ then that is an easy choice.

My college media prof used to ask for her money back at the movies if there was any advertising other than film trailers. This was the mid-1990s.

Chihuahua, I wish her luck these days. Shell out $12+ for a ticket and watch stupid commercials. At my local AMC, we try to arrive JUST IN TIME for previews [with tickets + charge for on-line seat selection, reservation, and ticket issuance]. Even then, after previews, there’s a stupid fecking Coke commercial. GRRRR!

Bert Beukema,

Re: …I pay for ‘no commercials’…

Which is free of neither ads nor commercials, just less interruptions. They still do placements of products, billboards, vehicle & building ad panels, and actual commercials in radios & televisions in the background scenery.

TV is not free. Period. You pay for cable or you pay for satellite or you pay for a HD antenna… or you pay for a streaming service. Either way, you are paying to watch TV. Gone are the days of rabbit ears.

@Trek fan 67 — that’s not entirely true about rabbit ears. I bought a cheap pair of rabbit ears recently for a TV to pick up terrestrial broadcasts until I could figure out how to get a better signal to it. They worked well enough, but I spent $18 for them. And I’ve since replaced them with a $30 flat antenna, and a $20 signal booster. I haven’t put a DVR on that TV, so I just plain do without when watching stuff on it. So I have to sit through all the commercials, and miss parts of it. Boy do I miss that DVR. But it’s true rabbit ears aren’t a choice for many people, especially those living in rural areas. Even in some cities it can be difficult to get clear signals of all the stations a person wants, without investing in a proper pole mounted antenna, assuming they own their own home, or the landlord permits it. And of course that’s ONLY the broadcast networks, which is arguably not where all the “must-see” TV is these days. For that, a real investment in equipment is required, as well a subscription(s) of some sort.

Twenty years ago, I lived in the L.A. area and got something like seven channels for free. I could see “X-Files,” PBS, Trek and Trek reruns, and a number of other great things. There were perhaps four to six commercials per break, and back then commercials didn’t use the annoying full-spectrum sound that they can today, so they were much less annoying. Oh thank God for the Mute button!

I think what bugs me about CBSAA and Hulu is, you pay and STILL have annoying commercials, or you pay twice as much [Hulu] for no commercials. At least CBSAA’s “commercial-free” price is not so ridiculous.

Standard AA has adds too.

Just because something was free in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll always be free.

TV is a business and we are not entitled to free Star Trek just because it was free in the past. Keep in mind that if it were of “free” TV, it would have to have ratings justifying it continuing on “free” TV. The ratings expectations on CBS are relatively high since they have the highest number of successful shows. The show could probably compete with the CW ratings expectations, but would have to have a dramatically smaller budget. And getting other networks to pay for a show produced by an outside company is getting less common as networks/production companies are tending to prioritize shows developed in-house, for ancillary profits (e.g., syndication, worldwide distribution, home media,).


Re: Just because something was free in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll always be free.

Tell THAT to the Romero Estate:

”That popularity [of zombies] is due in part to the fact that when NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was released, its distributor forgot to place a copyright indicator when it changed the title from NIGHT OF THE FLESH EATERS to its current moniker. According to copyright law at the time, leaving that symbol and the year off meant that it entered the public domain. “The film’s entry into the public domain became the ultimate distribution tool,” says Williams, because theaters, video stores, and TV stations could air it at no cost.

Here, you can watch it right now on YouTube, or download it off of the Internet Archive:”


Because of the error, Zombies became a thing that could easily be exploited by other creators. Williams notes that if Romero retained the copyright through 2024, we wouldn’t get works like SHAUN OF THE DEAD, Michael Jackson’s THRILLER, GAME OF THRONES, THE WALKING DEAD, and the hundreds of other works that have proliferated in the years since.” — ‘The popularity of zombies is due to one mistake in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD’; by Andrew Liptak, THE VERGE; Sep 2, 2017; 12:53pm EDT


I’m not sure what a copyright mistake has to do with anything here.


NIGHT OF THE FLESH EATERS was a business that entered the Public Domain [Something all copyrighted works must have some mechanism to eventually do to be constitutional.] in the past and became free. It is still free as many things that have entered the Public Domain will forever be — contrary to your assertion “Just because something was free in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll always be free.”

@MattR — CBS is likely the only company willing to pay as much as they are for DISC, for the simple reason that they will always get their money back on Trek, one way or another. So a CBS network is really the only place it could live, especially if it doesn’t pull the kind of general audience ratings a so-called free network like CBS requires. Any other distribution means would cost an audience something — cable networks, premium cable networks, PPV, or streaming/downloads. Granted people already may have Netflix, but not everybody. Nor do they have Amazon. So no matter what decision CBS makes, some Trek fan is going to have to pay something to watch DSC, aside from the Tiffany network itself, which really doesn’t make sense for that business.

Regarding TOS uniform colors (and TOS colors in general)…

I’ve craved a well-done, ret-connish throwaway line from Kelvin Kirk or McCoy to the effect that the use of primary colors is a result of Starfleet research into deep space assignments and psychological health. Some funny crack from Bones, maybe.

“The Starfleet psychologist who said bright colors ward off deep space depression never tried to hide in plain sight on a hostile planet.”

You get the idea.

It’s unlikely that “real” space explorers would dress quite that colorfully or work in an environment where so many things are brightly jewel-toned. (“The Cage” was much more subtle, as another poster suggested.)

This psychology ret-con thing crossed my mind because *only* the ship duty uniforms in JJ Trek are so colorful.

Please see the operational uniforms wore by the US Navy flight deck crew on the deck of an air craft carrier. Uniforms are divided into primary colors for easy identification of who is who. It makes it much easier to identify what is going on. There is a method to the madness, and it’s one that actually makes a lot of sense.


Thank you for that!

I’ve read some guides to rank insignia and uniforms but completely missed this.

Although the deck of a carrier is a huge, open space rather than the confines of a ship (where you can usually easily see the collar and strap of a Monster Maroon, for example), this still provides some real-world precedent.

@Khan… — what doesn’t make sense is sending the crew down to a planet in their shipboard BDUs. The Cage had it right. They should be wearing uniforms designed for he environment they’re going into. Red shirts in particular raise the issue perfectly — it’s the same reason rank insignia is matte black in the field, so the snipers don’t know who to pick off. Imagine if you’re engineers and security show up to build a bridge in enemy territory, and the enemy starts picking all the red shirts off. Or the gold shirts because they are in command. Blue certainly helps protect the scientists since people don’t tend to shoot the Red Cross. The reality is, there’s no need for color coding on a starship. It’s not like people are walking down the hall and suddenly need a red shirt — and even if they did, what would they get? An engineer, a communications, specialist, a security guard? It makes no sense, really, other than the situations in which it might. If anything it’s mostly ceremonial. I’ve been watching Space 1999, which makes a little morse sense as the breakdown is a little more specific — medical has its own color, as does security, command functions, pilots, technicians, ops, etc. so grabbing a colored sleeve walking down the hall might actually help you. But not Treks three primary colors. Even Roddenberry seemed to realize this for TMP, and developed more specialized division color coding like Space 1999.

But you’re right, it’s going to interesting to see what rationale they come up with to explain the switch to such dramatically different colored uniforms for those serving in the same organization.

They won’t need to explain anything because its a REBOOT that throws cannon away when they feel like it


I like your McCoy wiseacre remark!

Roddenberry wanted colorful interiors for the starship because of some study that showed color would contribute positively to crew morale.

But, as your McCoy points out, BDUs should have been more practical.

By the way, by my reckoning, TOS crew did not have BDUs. They had Class A [Dress uniforms] and Class B [everyday] uniforms. No battle dress, because they “come in peace.”

Plus, NBC wanted bright colors everywhere for those people who had color TVs.

I remember going from black-and-white TV to color. Oh my, what a fun difference in Star Trek! It was delightful! I felt like Dorothy in Oz.

More Roddenberry retroactive “deep thought”. He wanted brights colors for the same reason NBC did – to sell the show. The Cage didn’t sell. He got an EXTREMELY lucky break with his re-do, and more color was one of the corrections he made.

A lot of good things here. And it is crazy the Klingon ship is actually the same designs both inside and out thats been on the internet for nearly a year now. I guess with all the secrecy some things actually did manage to get out.

I personally don’t care if they try to connect it to the TOS at this point. I mean adding the colors to look more TOS isn’t going to satisfy the purists when the look of the ship looks way more advanced anyway and everything else is changed on its head.

I caught a few TOS episodes on BBC America the other day and I forgot just how small and compact that bridge is, not to mention just outdated. Looking at Discovery’s big and advance bridge you wouldn’t know they were in the same century much less the same decade. And I’m fine with that.

What is totally funny to me is that I am assuming if in 200 to 300 years from now we can build warp engines that take us from star system to star system we, in the present, have any clue at all about what the surrounding livable space would be like. Or what the weapons would be. Why wouldn’t all federation starships, or a few really militarized ones just have giant warp fields they use to destroy opponents.

None of this matters to me, I’m still not paying for All Access.

Great, but why do you think that matters to the rest of us?

@Michael Hall,

As DIGINON said in his response to OP, it mattered enough to you that you felt the need to comment!

Well, it mattered enough to you that you felt the need to comment.

Good news, everyone!

I hope there are Latino actors on this show

Does Wilson Cruz count?

I hope that, in the future, people stop pushing victim quotas to help cast shows or staff starships.


Re: victim quotas

I feel the same way about the victim quotas the elite who control the top 1% of the wealth create for themselves so that they can let undocumented Latinos serve as cannon fodder in their military in their deferred stead.

So I share your hope that in the future a true meritocracy emerges in the world instead of the one with elite thumbs on its scales that’s ruled humans to date.

Also, are you kidding? It’s 2017 Hollywood. There’ll be several of everything… except anyone resembling an old-fashioned American man like James T Kirk.

The NX-01 started that ‘evolution to TOS’ with the computer if you look close in episodes later in season 4 especially 10 years later in “These are the voyages” finale. The blinky boxes

I just hope those Horrible Blue Stripped Space Tracksuit Uniforms change to become more like the cage

The only uniforms I liked in “The Cage” were the women’s. The men’s uniforms had a positively awful ribbed neckline.

I wasn’t nuts about the colors either. But, “to each their own.”

It would be strange to see them go from the uniforms they have now to the drab and basic uniforms in the cage. Yeah I never liked them either. They looked cheap. That was the one thing I’m glad they changed. I would’ve been fine if they had the TOS style uniforms like the KT films had but according to an article CBS over ruled Fuller on that. Again, why make it a ‘prequel’ if you don’t want any visual reminders of the show that came before it?

Grammar Grappler says, “It should be, ‘then Kahless points and says,’ because things should be in the same tense, even in Klingon scripture.” Or maybe not.

There’s an awful lot of bad English happening these days ….

Interesting, but Whether the makers end up shaping this latest spin-off to be a bit more ‘TOS-like’ in it’s look and colors or not…the last thing I will imagine as I watch this show is that it’s an actual prequel to the events of the original show’s ‘Prime timeline’.

Good luck to those that are content to do so regardless of how everything looks…but depending on how things turn out, I’m sure myself and others will be able to enjoy this show better by imagining it’s either part of the ‘Kelvin timeline’ or set in a completely ‘alternate universe’ altogether.

I’d prefer to use one of those options than merely think of it as a completely re-imagined version of the original concept, so that it can remain part of my STAR TREK ‘canon’. Now let’s just hope it’s a watchable show, no matter what option anyone prefers.

I had been scratching my head since early on in the projects where I’d hear conflicting reports about how it was going to be in the “Prime” universe, while on the other hand, there would be news that people behind the show don’t want to be beholden to “canon.” And then pretty much every subsequent release since then has maintained these contradictory elements. They keep saying it’s part of the “Prime” universe. But then they want to change things. Then you get fans attacking fans on both sides over this subject.

If they had just came out and said it was a reboot, that this was just another alternate universe, like the Mirror universe, they could do anything they wanted to. Instead they’ve claimed to want to follow established Star Trek (appease or just placate some fans), while deciding that to just disregard that same history/backstory, and then are shocked when those fans get mad.

I’m firmly in the second paragraph of your post. The show would be infinitely better had it been a clean break from established canon. Instead, they took the cowardly route of least resistance (saying it takes place in the prime universe sometimes and then saying they are going to play fast-and-loose with ‘canon’ and continuity). Since I know they aren’t going to honor the Prime timeline, I may as well just assume the pilot episode that will air on CBS that I’m going to probably watch is in an alternate reality and call it a day.

They are honoring the prime timeline, just not the prime timeline visuals. Think of it as an illustrated Bible. The text is canon, the illustrations are not. It is as simple as that.

Salvador Nogueira,

Re: Think of it as an illustrated Bible. The text is canon…

That ain’t necessarily so.

Discovery Shows Early Christians Didn’t Always Take the Bible Literally:


I’ll believe it when I see it, or in this case, read about it. Keeping up with the news about this show doesn’t lead me to believe they’re doing anything of the sort, despite claims from people like Akiva Goldsman that they hired people specifically to “fact check” the show. But none of us will really know until the end of the month one way or the other.

A spoiler nugget from the FanExpo Discovery production panel. THIS was on the graphics display of the Discovery bridge. The red alert logo from the movie series.


How do they justify going backwards? How do you take a gargantuan, spacious, 3D hologram-filled environment where you’ve already surpassed TOS technology, and devolve down to a functional, compact, utilitarian bridge with practical buttons? I like the TOS era. If you’re going to do stories set in the TOS era, then STICK TO A REASONABLY CLOSE INTERPRETATION OF THE LOOK OF THE TOS ERA. You want to reinvent everything? Then go make a NEW show.

TOS is 60’s. And its not coming back. TOS is the outlier compared to Franklin – Enterprise NX – Kelvin, all of which are Prime Universe ships that pre-date TOS.

I don’t understand all the anger reflected here. I’m 58, which means I had the privilege of watching TOS when it first aired. Although that makes my opinion typically more informed than those with less knowledge, it doesn’t make me or “my series” better than you or yours. I’m an engineer by college education, and am very analytical, but, please, let’s be civil (as Gene would have wanted), and sometimes just agree to disagree. BTW, typically, something enters the public domain, when the patent or copyright protection expires (for example:17 years for pharmaceuticals, 7 years for intellectual property, and 50 years for music (in England, not US, therefore, not allowing Paul McCartney to get ‘his’ Beatles catalogue back till recently). Also, btw, zombies may have become popular due to them being overplayed over the years, and a variety of factors, of which being ‘free’ is inclusive. Peace and long life (darn, where’s the Vulcan salute emoji? 😉).

Set off some thermonuclear weapons (or pure fusion bombs which ironically enough will probably power the 23rd century), some concentrated EMP weapons and you’ll lose all your fancy holograms and have the crew begging for some physical buttons with Tekcable. Bring on TOS with some colorful screens!!! That being said I have no problem with holograms / video screens so long as they maintain the TOS layout. I think that is the most important aspect of TOS, that the bridge felt functional and looked great.

@Cmd. Bremmon — Aye, the bridge was an incredibly well thought out set. TNG and VOY moved away from that, while ENT brought us back to it. AN interesting notion about the DISC set being more advanced than TOS. Was ship automation and remote control ever visited during TOS, or did that first happen during TWOK? If so, there’s ample opportunity for something to develop like the BSG premise that took the fleet off-line. Only later in TOS when Daystrom started automation experiments might Starfleet have felt confident enough to go back to higher tech solutions they had previously employed, experimentally in their newer ships like the Discovery and Shenzhou.