Review: ‘After Trek’ Is A Fun, Informative Companion To ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Sunday night was not only the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, but also the premiere a new after-show called – fittingly – After Trek. This new after-show is available live and on-demand on CBS All Access and also airs in Canada on the Space Channel and is available on demand outside the USA and Canada on Netflix. TrekMovie was invited to the studio for the first-ever Star Trek talk show and this is our first-hand account.

Live from New York, it’s After Trek!

We arrived at the studio around 8pm where, as a group, would all watch the two-hour premiere together – then go right into the live after-show. Smiling staff members in Trek shirts greeted us in a room with a big screen TV, couches and a bar that served themed drinks including a “Samarian Sunset” (Tequila and Orange Juice) and a “Beam Me Up” (Whisky and Coca-Cola) . While sipping on blue Gatorade-hued “Romulan Ale” (wonderful stuff, that Romulan Ale), around ten audience members all patiently watched the staffers calmly and efficiently download, install, and sign into the CBS All Access app. Meanwhile, host Matt Mira did a Facebook Live, mingling with the invited guests and getting us pumped for the premiere. After a few false starts with the app (as we were waiting for the first episode to appear), we began intently watching the first new Star Trek series on TV in 12 years. Over the course of the next two hours, there was laughter and cheering with a general sense of positivity.

After Trek host, Matt Mira mingles with the in-studio guests

We were then ushered into the studio which is deceivingly tiny. The set is absolutely gorgeous and, we were told (much like the Genesis Cave) was built in only two days. In a way, it reminds me of the VOY briefing room. The table is shaped similarly and there’s a window looking out into space. On display are actual props from the show – which include a tricorder, communicator, and a phaser. We know this because when Star Trek: Discovery co-showrunner Aaron Harberts first saw the set, he pointed out in wonderment, “Hey that’s our phaser!” The attention to detail is also appreciated. There’s even an old-fashioned telescope like the one Burnham uses in “The Vulcan Hello.”

A telescope on the set of After Trek

Matt arrived first and was now wearing a tie, but conspicuous by their absence were his glasses, which he hilariously didn’t realize were not on his face until he tried to read the teleprompter. I am completely blind without my glasses so for the life of me have no idea how he could have forgotten them. That’s not all. There was a concern that his jacket sleeves were too short and would look ridiculous on camera. As we were mere minutes from going live, a PA quickly fixed Mira’s jacket, then frantically ran back to wardrobe to retrieve his glasses and saved the show.

What new tricks will After Trek hold up Mira’s really short sleeve?

A fun show with the right host

With the announcement of Matt Mira as host of After Trek, there was a strong contingent of fans that let out a collective sigh of relief that the right person was at the helm. Mira is most recognized for his work with Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Industries, but Trek fans may know him as somewhat of a Trekspert from the Star Trek: The Next Conversation Podcast.

The first word that comes to mind for this show is fun. Mira is a genuine fan and brings charisma, levity and pure joy as a host. If you’ve ever seen or heard Mira talk about Star Trek, you can just tell that he loves it. Whether he’s interviewing the cast of TNG on “Attack of the Show” or testing his trivia skills with Patrick Stewart on the Nerdist Podcast he’s extremely comfortable on camera.

Mira’s skills were evidenced in the first episode as he kept the conversation going with his in-studio guests Aaron Harberts and James Frain (Sarek). The discussion was relaxed but was still informative with both guests providing insights and background into the show. So discussion can go from why they structured the two-part premiere as a “prologue” to the rest of the series, to joking about why all Vulcans have the same bowl cut. There was a moment where they simulated a mind meld between Frain and Mara did fall a bit flat, but it shows they are experimenting with the format.

Aaron Harberts and James Frain talk to Matt Mira on After Trek

Mira also deftly juggled incorporating Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh and other members of the cast remotely from Toronto. However, there were a few hiccups, perhaps due to network lag. And given how many guests the show had available to talk to, this segment was surprisingly short. But hopefully, this shows that they will continue to bring in big-name guests, even if they can’t be in the New York studio.

More guests beam into After Trek from Toronto

More than just talk

The production itself is top notch, which is not a surprise as the show is produced by the same company that makes Talking Dead and other companion shows for AMC. After Trek is far more than a talking head type of show. The graphics are well done and the trivia questions between commercial breaks (which you can participate in at aftertrek.tv) are entertaining and informative no matter what your level. After Trek also takes advantage of being live by incorporating live twitter questions and interactive polls. There are also fun graphics revealing bits of Star Trek: Discovery details and even a “technobabble of the week” which shows a good amount of self-awareness and ability to have a little fun with the subject matter.

Example of After Trek trivia break

After Trek also featured some well-produced taped behind-the-scenes sequences that provided a lot of insight into the making of the show. These were shot on set where you can see how things were done and included good interview snippets with cast and crew. Hopefully, there is a lot more of this in future episodes.

After Trek revealed that this sequence was shot on the Paramount lot

Revealing without spoiling

If you are hungry to know what is coming, the first episode of After Trek offered a few tidbits, without getting too spoilery. We find out that we will see the USS Discovery in the next episode, the show won’t deal with Romulans, Sarek is going to show off some Vulcan martial arts, and more minor spoilers.

There was a clip of the next episode “Context is for Kings” airing this weekend, giving us a good look at the engine room of the USS Discovery – revealing it is anything but ordinary. And Lt. Stamets (Anthony Rapp) has a bit of an attitude towards the recently convicted Michael Burnham.

Sneak peek at upcoming episode shown on After Trek

UPDATE: Clips

CBS released 4 clips of After Trek, so check em out.

Bottom line

After shows are in vogue these days for franchises with enormous fandoms and rich histories and there’s arguably no one bigger than Star Trek. After Trek just makes sense. And as the weeks go on, it will continue to improve – becoming a true companion to Discovery. I look forward to the rest of the season and learning something new every week.

After Trek streams live on CBS All Access at 9:30 pm ET each Sunday, following releases of a new episode of Star Trek: Discovery. It is also available on demand on CBS All Access after the live show. In Canada After Trek airs Sunday nights and in the rest of the world it is available on demand on Netflix.

 

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Spock Jenkins

It was fun, worth it for having the actors and producer as guests, the bts stuff, the promo for next week, etc.

It suffers from the same issue that plagues a number of after-shows in that the host feels he must try to be funny. I mean, I’d rather have Jordan Hoffman or Larry Nemecek present it, but it’s fine, and likely I will be tuning in next week.

The interactive ( for live viewers ) trivia quiz was pretty fun.

Skippy2k

Agreed, this! As you mention the forced attempt at humor vs just natural humor in the midst of the discussion.

I\'m Dead Jim

I didn’t think Matt was trying too hard to be funny. He just was funny.But you know what the Vulcans say: “Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical.”

To me, Matt seemed like a less funny but more energetic John Lovitz. Good show though.

DataMat

This is one true positive of TV nowadays and how the audiences can instantly react to it and with each other across the world. Even when Enterprise was on, social media like twitter and facebook was non-existant!

Fred Javelina

Ah, they’re shooting the Toronto end of things from Space.ca’s Innerspace set, which makes sense.

James

Is there a promo out there for the next episode? Absolutely loving having Trek back on TV. Didn’t realize how much I missed it.

Maybe it’s because I’m British but I found the whole thing rather hard work. Matt Mira is a likeable host but could be a little less loud. Some good behind-the-scenes stuff and a tantalising glimpse of next week’s show made it worthwhile. Can’t wait to see the actual Discovery.

Spock Jenkins

I’m British too, and the UK aftershows are no better – have you seen how dreadful the Big Brother/I’m A Celebrity/Apprentice aftershows are? ;P

I do my best to avoid them ;-) Anyway, mustn’t grumble – WE’VE GOT TREK BACK !!!!

Curious Cadet

@Adam Warr — I’m not British, and I had a hard time watching this … gave up after 20 min.

Michael Hall

Agreed. Matter of taste, and best of luck, but it was like watching a game show host discussing Dostoevsky. I’d have bailed after about ten minutes without the lure of the episode 3 preview, and that turned out to be no big deal either. Aaron Harberts was really the only good reason to stick around at all. I’d gladly take HBO’s much-derided “After the Thrones,” where at least the hosts would deign to, you know, actually discuss the themes and events of the show that we’d all just watched.

SamaJama

The host is abysmal and boring.

I\'m Dead Jim

I disagree. He knows and deeply loves the subject matter.

Michael Hall

Then maybe he should try talking about it. 😊

CmdrR

I like the idea of the show, but it felt way too Ra-Ra! Inwant facts and real discussion. You may not know this, but Trekkies like to bitch and moan; it’s part of our dna. DISCO needs to listen to feedback. It has a numbe of strengths, but also some weaknesses which should be adjusted. I don’t think I’ve read anyone say they liked the Klingons using subtitles for hours on end. Those scenes do not wprk. Time to loop in English or shorten the scenes. The ipening credits are cool, but why the TOS communicator and not a DISCO one? What about the pacing? What about Sarek’s katra having an interactive mind of its own? (Creepy, btw!) Also, Matt is not my idea of a host. Sorry, just saying. Kayla or John would work better for me. Anyway… the human adventure continues.

DIGINON

I haven’t seen Discovery yet so I can’t specifically judge the Klingon scenes. But I have watched whole movies with subtitles so I can’t imagine it’s so bad. Going to see the pilot on Sunday. The waiting is hard.

Mawazi

I think you’re not going to get what you want. After-shows are never negative, or really critical at all. It’s just not their purpose for existing.

Dennis Madalone

I liked the Klingons speaking with subtitles. A lot. I thought the design and presentation of the Klingons and their ship was the best thing about the new show.

Trek Fan 67

I loved the Klingon scenes in Klingon. I always hated that every alien in every sci-fi setting always speak English. I have no problem with the subtitles, probably because I watch foreign movies in their actual language. I just found it added to the alien feel and brought me more into their character. But that’s just me.

Marja

I agree with this. However, any subtitles must always be CLEAR. I really hate trying to muddle my way through white subtitles, unshadowed, on a grey sky, for example.

I hope Disco has done a better job [haven’t seen it yet].

Also, note to costumer, if a guy’s wearing an entire suit, don’t put him in white sneakers. That kind of belies the whole point of a suit.

Danpaine

Sometimes with shows like this it takes a while for the host to find their footing. When Talking Dead started, Chris Hardwick was all over the map. Now after a few seasons he’s far for settled into the job, and much more watchable.

Danpaine

An ‘edit’ button would be cool here…

JonBuck

Looking at that promo image of Discovery’s Engineering, and TOS engineering, there are a lot of similarities. Here’s what I’m seeing: https://www.screencast.com/t/iPBA9GSkQs

cylonbob

..very good eye man!!!

albatrosity

I didn’t watch After Trek, but I heard it was boring and cringy? Like a lot of the premiere, now that I think about it. idk, I didn’t think there was enough in that two parter for me to want to watch another show just talking about it. There wasn’t enough mystery in the premiere for me. I think as the series goes on my attitude towards it will warm and I might give After Trek a try.

TheInnerLight

Love the idea of the show, but have to tell you that the show is just downright awful and unwatchable. I think the host and context is all wrong. Given it is Star Trek, it should be a discussion on the morals of the show, ties to current issues, and adult themes. The host is just wrong (I want to say he is terrible compared to others in this genre) and this show needs a lot of help.

PEB

I’m just glad that people want behind the scenes content. With streaming movies, I miss out on some of the bts additions that you get with physical copies and i love that stuff on shows. Even if they did pre-recorded bits like what’s done with Game of Thrones I would’ve been happy so…thanks CBS…

Tay Dervis

Personally, I am not a big fan of these shows as they kill the suspension of disbelief for me. However, I am glad to see it is off to a good start for those who will enjoy it.

Mawazi

I like Mira, he’s sort of the perfect host for this show. He kept things moving, seems to love Trek, and I actually found him to be pretty funny. You need to take into consideration that the show is live, and it was their first go.

Brian

Terrible review. Matt is just awful. He needs to be replaced. He is flamboyant, over the top and his reactions seem disingenuous.

Andrew SD

This show was really fun. I laughed on multiple occasions. The hoist is perfect, Trekkie and geeky and funny in all the best ways. I loved him. Also like the behind the scenes stuff we get to see.

GarySeven

Total trash. The only thing worse than Matt Mira was Discovery itself.
Those are the two worst things, followers by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin in the #3 and #4 spots.

Roamer

Interesting Michelle Yeoh is still in Toronto while they are filming episode 15 considering what happened at the end of episode two.

GarySeven

That is an excellent point, Roamet. It gives me hope. I loved Michelle Yeoh’s captain- she was my favorite character. She upheld the ideals of the Federation more than any other character. And the character was strong and compassionate. Moreover it is kind of disturbing to see a show which is promoting women of color as competent leaders to have one of their key role models lose a fight and die in the second episode, only to be replaced by a warrior white male type (and I say this as a White male who loves Kirk).
I hope she comes back in flashbacks or maybe even in a Star Trek III kind of way. I hope she wasn’t just up in Toronto for PR and we will never see her again.

Michael Hall

My guess is that she’ll appear in the occasional flashback, depending on Yeoh’s availability. Hope so, anyway.

Karidian

Maybe you had to be there. I found this guy to be very annoying and not funny, and he did not seem particularly knowledgeable. The fellow that does the Star Trek Engage podcast (Jordan Hoffman?) would have been a far better choice. I did enjoy the behind the scenes bits a lot, though. I hope it gets better.

albatrosity

omg Jordan was host at the Mission NY con last year for the 50th and I gotta say he was dull and unfunny on the stage; I liked it when the actors took control and he was just sorta there, as opposed to him moderating. Sorry, I’m so critical sometimes >.<

Karidian

Ouch. Well, just shows that tastes vary. I’ve always enjoyed him on the podcast. I hope the guy on After Trek improves.

Thorny

God, the host was annoying. I turned off the program after a few minutes.

bassmaster22

The best TV experiences are digested and thought about. All these after shows involve immediately deconstructing everything. Let the episode breathe for a little while. It’d be better to have these shows appear before an episode to recap the previous week and warm up the audience for the new one.

Marja

THAT is a great idea, bassmaster.

DIGINON

Since the show is available on demand you can watch it whenever you like. If you prefer it as a warm up to the next episode you can do just that. I guess that’s the advantage of not being tied to a TV schedule.

LJ (Formerly known as LJ)

If anybody likes these various after-shows, then good for them. They leave me cold. Invariably cheap, tacky, and full of extracting the proverbial. And the worst aspect is they take you out of the show you just watched: I want to marinade in it a while, digest it, savour it, before being reminded that – yes – it’s all green screen and wire work.

MikeB

Loved Discovery, HATED After Trek. The host is loud and juvenile and just makes all us Trek fans look like nerds. I guess Chris Hartwick just makes it look easy. A.T. was silly fluff with absolutely no intelligence behind it. The host couldn’t be bothered to ask even one smart question sitting there surrounded by people from the new show.
-Will we see Gergiou more in flashbacks?
-Where is Spock in this timeframe?
-Why don’t a couple of the Klingons look like previously seen versions?
Yes, I know we’ll get answers up the road, but giving us SOMETHING is the whole point of a show like this.

Finnegan

I agree, After Trek was terrible. The host was a goof and I could not take him seriously. Could he have been a bigger ass kisser? “What did you bring to your character?” Absolutely inane. Avoid.

Marja

MikeB Chris Hardwick is a professional comedian, I used to watch “After Midnight” and he’s energetic and fun, with genuine wit. Never seen Talking Dead because I’ve never seen Walking Dead.

“Sarek is going to show off some Vulcan martial-arts”

Uh… what? Why?

Not a fan of James Frain’s Sarek (no one can hold a candle to Mark Lenard).

Marja

Mark Lenard’s Sarek was so great! I really am perplexed by Disco’s choice to cast Frain as SAREK. As said by albatrosity, why not just have a different Vulcan? T’Pol maybe? Or a Vulcan we’ve never seen before? It just seems so cheesy to use Sarek.

NAME RECOGNITION WILL PULL IN FANS perhaps. The same disastrous idea they had for STID. It remains to be seen if it will be a disaster for Disco, I hope it won’t, but I find it distasteful in the extreme to fool with canon [in a CANON TIMELINE] to such a great extent.

Yeah, now we know why Spock and Sarek haven’t spoken for 18 years as father and son. Sarek was busy with Michael. OUCH. That’s kind of sarcastic, but really …!

JonBuck

It’s Star Trek tradition to include a character from the previous series in the pilot episode. It really should’ve been T’Pol instead of Sarek. Maybe they wanted a father figure?

FLB

Jolene Blalock may simply not have been interested.

jonboc

Agreed..not liking this Sarek at all. The first time he he uttered “Live Long and Prosper” in the first episode, in the transporter room, without the traditional handsign he lost me…as well as the director and powers that be, on set that gave it a pass. Know your source material people. Also, before he left, when he gave the greeting to Burnham, being she was raised on Vulcan, shouldn’t she have shown respect with the proper reply, “Peace and Long Life”?

Phik

I’m enjoying discovery, a flawed show with a lot of potential and promise. But this After Trek nonsense is embarrassing garbage.

CsMisi

I loved the Cadet Training bit, where they have recommended 3 episodes to watch. Too bad they didn’t explain why, although it is obvious I would still loved to hear they say a few words about does …

Latitude83

I just turned it off after a few minutes because the presenter was so annoying.

The First Son of Krypton

I kind of hatdd it personally, a number of interesting questions were asked that didn’t get answered because the host wouldnt shut up for five minutes. Everything was an awkward joke. The bowl cut joke went on for what felt like eight whole calendar years.

cj9

It didn’t work for me, and I really tried. But Matt doesn’t know how to ask the kinds of questions that elicits thoughtful responses, and he doesn’t know how to keep things moving. There were too many long pauses and awkward silences. Guests shouldn’t have to do the heavy lifting.

Balaska

I’m afraid the host killed it for me. I found him annoying to the point it was just painful to watch. I had to give up after 10 mins :(

Joe

Matt Mira is horrible. They need to replace him.

Alfredo Ruanova

I liked the concept of after trek a lot, I specially enjoyed Talking Dead, so to have that about trek after discovery was great!!! And then… I saw the show….and the host!!! Please put some spock ears on him and send him to film “Trekkies 3″… Between being a big man, glasses, beard and a kind of loud voice, with most of his “humor” falling flat, seemed like the stereotypical trekkie everybody thinks we are. Never heard of him before, and I am very surprised to see him described as an “expert”… seemed more like a newbie fan fawning over the whole thing… if you have one of the producers, get more meat from him!!! Analyze the show, talk about what is the thinking behind the changes from TOS… klingon design, uniforms, etc… seems the show has a lot to learn…. best wishes though!!!!

Jim Seals

Not to be the gainsayer here, but I found this hour to be a hot mess. Perhaps I am ill-informed on how the format of the after show is supposed to be structured. I did enjoy the behind-the-scenes featurettes scattered throughout. If TrekMovie is intending to run these shorts separately, as in the above, I may skip out on this aspect of DISCOVERY.

Rich

The host was really annoying. He would ask a question to the guests and then would interrupt them and not let them answer. A host is there to moderate not to try to take the spotlight. John Champion and Ken Rey from Mission Log would make the perfect hosts!

Joe Siegler

I tried watching it. The host made it unwatchable. Needs decaf. Stop trying to force jokes.

Nojjokka

I am an old school trekkie, meaning I remember waiting patiently for the next episode of the original series to come out. Most of the new series I’ve enjoyed but suffered through DS9 and Enterprise. I like Discovery so far but do we really need an after show show? I didn’t make it through the first 10 minutes before losing interest. Nice try but not worth watching in my opinion.