"Star Trek: Discovery" gets hopeful, mostly positive reviews

The reviews for "Star Trek: Discovery" are in, and most critics had good things to say about the latest iteration of the franchise.

The series had an 89 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Discovery," which is the first new "Star Trek" show in more than a decade, also led CBS All Access to its highest signup day ever. The prequel series takes place about a decade before the mission of the original 1960s "Star Trek."

Maureen Ryan of Variety praised the focus on strong female characters in the show. She wrote, "It's a real joy to see an African-American woman and a woman of Asian descent (Michelle Yeoh's Captain Philippa Georgiou) charging through the universe -- leading, strategizing and kicking a** when necessary. Though 'Discovery' has a number of patches of leaden exposition, the mentoring relationship between the two women is nicely sketched out by Yeoh and Martin-Green."

Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly said the first two episodes of the show were a little slow, but he praised stars Sonequa Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh. He wrote of Martin-Green, "She is a commanding presence, weary and excited, bemused and desperate, never less than fully engaged." 

Matt Zoller-Seitz of Vulture praised the show's balance of science fiction and action: "This 'Trek' offers PG-13 violence, audience-pandering exposition dumps, cliffhanger endings, 'Game of Thrones'style pomp, and a touch of 'Lost''s mystery-box plotting, but also poker-faced musings on quantum science, moral relativism, logic vs. instinct, race vs. culture and the military's tendency to corrupt science in service of war." He added, "This is light years removed from being a perfect TV show, but it already shows signs of being a great one."

Zack Handlen of AV Club criticized the costumes and set on the show, but said "Discovery" is "thrilling, moving and frequently unexpected. Just as importantly, for everything questionable about the design, it still feels like 'Trek.'" He also said, "For the first time in ages, I'm looking forward to watching more new 'Star Trek.' It's a good feeling."

Todd VanDerWerff of Vox wrote: "I'm giving this one a qualified thumbs up. I was gripped and engaged by the journey of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), the new series' lead character and only the second 'Star Trek' lead who's not a captain. (She is, instead, first officer.) I was excited to see what she did next. I found the story twists and turns exciting, even when I had already guessed they were coming."

Not every critic was so enthusiastic. Dan Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter said, "'Discovery' has to stand as 'Discovery' and this is a disorienting start ... So that really puts everything on Sonequa Martin-Green, at least for me, and even as great as she is, I'm not sure if she's enough."

The first two episodes of "Star Trek: Discovery" are now available on CBS All Access. The premiere episode was broadcast on CBS television Sunday night, while the second is exclusively available on CBS All Access. Moving forward, new episodes will be available on CBS All Access each Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch "After Trek," the companion after-show of "Star Trek: Discovery" hosted by Matt Mira. "After Trek" hits CBS All Access at 9:30 p.m. ET.

 

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com