‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Under Fire for Not Casting Enough White Dudes

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By Emily Zanotti | 4:34 pm, May 22, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery has been a problematic show from the beginning. The most recent spinoff of the Star Trek franchise has been beset by accusations of misogyny, a lack of female characters aside from leads, and, of course, fears that it can’t live up to previous incarnations.

But while social justice warriors grapple with what Discovery means for feminism and diversity, a group, usually diametrically opposed to social justice warriors, is grousing loudly on the Internet—because Discovery has too many women and characters of color.

(l-r): Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru; Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham; Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou. CBS

The series stars  Sonequa Martin-Green as a high-level officer on the ship who has most of the show’s adventures (the captain, a white man, is just there for window dressing). Michelle Yeoh stars as another ship’s captain, who aides Martin-Green, and the two lead a cast of humans and aliens charged with saving the galaxy, before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series.

(l-r): Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou; Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham. CBS

Star Trek has always pushed boundaries in the name of social change. But apparently, there was a little too much boundary pushing this time around.

And those were some of the tamer quotes—it turns out some Trek fans really don’t like what Discovery is threatening to do.

Obviously, these critics could simply avoid tuning in. And entertainment history seems to show that programs centered specifically around social justice, or that embrace diversity for diversity’s sake, don’t last long, whether because they’re preachy or because they embrace politics at the expense of creativity. It might be easier to just let Discovery find its audience or die trying.

But, it turns out, not just progressives can be snowflakes.

Hidden among those quotes, there is also one nugget of fair criticism. Star Trek has a long and storied history, and much of that history has developed into canon. Discovery appears to upend some of that canon in order to rewrite Starfleet’s story in a way that updates it for a modern audience.

The short answer is, of course that the original series premiered in the late 1960s, and Voyager in the late 1990s. It isn’t that the technology is better—just the visual effects.