Star Trek: Discovery is No Longer Family-Friendly

Funny…if you’d told my ten-year-old self that, one day, a Star Trek series would be running and I wouldn’t have the faintest desire to watch it, I’d have laughed at you.

I usually try to keep my blog away from culture wars and “Christian boycotts”, because I believe we’re likely to get better evangelistic results by talking about what we’re for (i.e. loving God through Christ alone) than what we’re against. But today, it’s a PSA (public service announcement) for anyone considering watching Star Trek: Discovery.

I watched the first five episodes of Discovery, the seventh series in the franchise and the first to air in 12 years. I didn’t continue because the series is part of CBS’s All Access project and I thought it stupid to keep paying for a subscription unless the writing was top caliber. Discovery’s wasn’t. Muddled and excessively Nolan-ized (i.e. characters are horrible and we’re supposed to care because it’s “dark”), the show was strongly performed but wasn’t sure why it even existed. It didn’t have that immediate mystery-grip that Lost did.

Then, with its midseason finale, the show made a hard-left turn into mature-rated cable content. Not just the much-ballyhooed gay kiss (a first for the franchise), but a flashback sex scene featuring nudity. (I was ambushed by a Youtube clip.)

Not only does it all feel done just “because it can”, but it pricks my conscience as a Christian. I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was never a bastion of Biblical thought even then, dripping with Gene Roddenberry’s yes-we-can humanism and contempt for religion (how can one work in the LAPD, of all things, and come away with a rosy picture of human nature?), although he deserves great credit for promoting racial diversity in his casts. But Trek for the most part remained harmlessly family-friendly. Deep Space Nine had its LGBT dallyings, but they remained wrapped in sci-fi trappings. We still stopped watching it as a family.

Well, now it has to be edgy, and has also (along with a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the recent feature film, Star Trek Beyond) given the LGBT community the victory for which they have clamored so loudly  over the decades.  I am not the first to note that they think it discriminatory if any entertainment product omits an LGBT pairing these days. Such is the direction this show has turned, seemingly for no reason except to further normalize those lifestyles.

I leave it to you to decide whether to invest in Discovery, and I pray we will all practice good discernment and shine like lights in the darkness. But I will not be further investing.